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Saturday, March 30, 2013

DACA (deferred action) and crime -- what happens when you have a conviction?

We recently completed a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) case for a client who was convicted of simple possession of marijuana (less than 30 grams). What is involved with resolving criminal convictions for DACA applicants? You may have heard that criminal convictions are a complete bar to deferred action -- and this is largely true, unfortunately. But like every good rule, there are...exceptions. It is often worth speaking to a qualified immigration attorney (that would be us!) to determine if you meet one of the exceptions and are in fact eligible for I-821D (deferred action) relief.

To begin an analysis of whether you can apply for DACA, we will review the level of criminal activity. What is a "significant" misdemeanor as barred by the deferred actions rules?

Any offense that has a term of imprisonment less than one year but more than five days and is an offense of:
1. Domestic violence
2. Sexual abuse/exploitation
3. Firearm violations
4. Drug sales (distribution or trafficking)
5. Burglary


any other misdemeanor where the guilty party is sentenced to 90 days or more.

When there is a criminal conviction, and the charge/sentence is not listed above, then we would write a letter to the USCIS directory recommending that your request for deferred action should be granted (called a "narrative"). To help offset any "bad" acts, we would submit proof that you attended rehabilitation classes (anger management, drug addiction, etc.) and that you have "good acts" to offset your criminal activities.

A conviction is a serious matter, and it can have terrible consequences for your immigration case. Contact us immediately for assistance if you have been arrested or have convictions on your record. We can help!

S Sean R. Hanover, Esq Contact Us 703-402-2723 Visit the Hanover Law firm at