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Child Immigrants In San Diego, CA
One of the most recent actions that President Obama has taken is instituting the Deferred Action plan for young adults who do not have lawful immigration status. The Deferred Action Program is an executive immigration policy. This means that President Obama and his administration created this policy which is in effect while Obama is in office. As a result, this policy can be changed by the next administration in office. But, exactly what is Deferred Action?
Deferred Action means that the government is giving a person who does not have lawful immigration status permission to remain in the United States for two years. At the end of the two years, the applicant may request a renewal of the deferred action. For many, this is absolutely a relief. However, this program is not meant to lead to permanent American citizenship.
Before an applicant is granted Deferred Action, there are several requirements that the applicant must meet. Some of the most notable of these requirements is that the applicant must have come to the United States before his or her sixteenth birthday and have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007. The applicant must also be thirty years old or younger as of June 15, 2012. A successful applicant must be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces.
The criminal records of all applicants weigh in as to whether the government will grant or deny Deferred Action. As for felony offenses, applicants who have them will not receive Deferred Action unless the applicant shows “exceptional circumstances.” Another criminal barrier to receiving Deferred Action is if the applicant has been convicted of a “significant misdemeanor.”
“Significant Misdemeanor” is a new term that has made its debut in immigration policy. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) coined “significant misdemeanor” for the Deferred Action policy without legislation under its rule-making power. On August 3, 2012 DHS announced that a “significant misdemeanor” is defined as any federal, state, or local offense that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of one year or less but greater than five days, a misdemeanor for which the individual was sentenced to jail of more than 90 days, or a conviction for domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, firearm violation, drug distribution or trafficking (but not possession), or DUI, regardless of the sentence. If an applicant has a “significant misdemeanor” conviction, the applicant may be able to qualify for deferred action if the applicant can show exceptional circumstances as in the case of felony convictions.
The criminal barrier to granting Deferred Action does not stop at “significant misdemeanors.” Although state immigration offenses, traffic offenses, juvenile delinquency, and expunged convictions do not lead to an automatic denial of Deferred Action, the government may still deny an applicant Deferred Action under a discretionary public safety and a totality of the circumstances analysis.
Wouldn’t potential applicants think twice before applying knowing that their criminal history will be exposed? In order to ease nerves and to encourage people to apply for Deferred Action, the government protects the information that an applicant provides as part of the Deferred Action request from disclosure to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) for purposes of removal proceedings. However, if an applicant’s request for Deferred Action is denied, the information the applicant provided may be given to authorities if the applicant meets the criteria of USCIS’ November 2011 NTA Memo. The 2011 NTA Memo can be found here:
Criminal convictions, arrests, prior immigration problems, and fraud in the Deferred Action application process could result in referral to removal proceedings. It’s important for any potential applicant who has concerns that their personal history could be provided to ICE or CBP to speak to an attorney that could shed some light on the situation and provide helpful advice.
For young adults who have made a life in America, there is now this avenue for them to receive permission to stay and to continue with their lives. Hopefully those who qualify will learn about this process and make the best decision for their situation.
If you have questions about Child Immigrants in San Diego, contact San Diego Attorney Vik Monder at 619.405.0063 or visit Child Immigrants Attorney