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Deferred Action Updates

Today USCIS provided more information about eligibility for deferred action for undocumented persons who arrived in the U.S. as children. The news includes the following important developments for persons with criminal records:

  • Expunged convictions and juvenile delinquency adjudications will not count toward automatic disqualification.
  • Minor traffic offenses, including driving without a license, will not count toward automatic disqualification for having 3 or more non-significant misdemeanors (even if, as in California, driving without a license is a misdemeanor).
  • Several types of crimes were eliminated from the significant misdemeanor category, so that they do not form an automatic ground of disqualification. Notably, it eliminated crimes involving violence, threats, or assault; theft, larceny, or fraud; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; or unlawful possession of drugs. However, USCIS will continue to consider these offenses in deciding whether to grant deferred action in the exercise of discretion.
  • Any offense that resulted to a sentence to time in custody of more than 90 days now counts as a significant misdemeanor. Time in custody does not include suspended portions of sentences or time while the person is held on an immigration detainer.
  • Immigration-related state crimes (non-federal crimes) will not count toward automatic disqualification as either a felony or misdemeanor. In other words, the types of criminal immigration offenses created by the State of Arizona (and found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court) are not a basis for disqualification.

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