Deferred Action and Criminal Convictions

President Obama took executive action in the summer of 2012 to offer deportation protection to young people brought to the U.S. as children. This is very welcome news for immigrant families living under the threat of deportation.

More than 700,000 people are already participating in the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). But what effect does a criminal conviction have on DACA eligibility?

Get the Legal Advice You Need to Understand DACA

At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Pullara, we have the knowledge and experience to advise you on criminal barriers to Deferred Action. From offices in Torrance and downtown Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout Southern California. We also assist immigration lawyers from around the country in seeking post-conviction relief for clients facing deportation due to a criminal conviction in California.

Our firm focuses its practice on the intersection of criminal law and immigration. Attorney Anthony Pullara has extensive experience in this area and an in-depth knowledge of how DACA eligibility is affected by criminal convictions.

DACA and Criminal Offenses

DACA offers protection against deportation for immigrants who meet certain criteria. But the law in this emerging area of legal practice is quite complicated regarding the effect of criminal offenses on eligibility. To simplify somewhat, some of the basic distinctions include:

  • Criminal bars — There are offenses that are criminal bars from DACA participation. If you have been convicted of a felony, a " significant" misdemeanor such as domestic violence or burglary, or three "nonsignificant" misdemeanors, you are generally not eligible for the program. But it still may be possible to qualify if you can demonstrate the existence of exceptional circumstances.
  • Offenses that do not involve automatic disqualification — There are several offenses that do not serve as criminal bars, but can be used by the Department of Homeland Security to deny DACA participation based on public safety considerations. These offenses include state-level immigration offenses, traffic offenses, juvenile delinquency and convictions that have been expunged.

  • Discretionary denial based on criminal history — The Department of Homeland Security also claims that it can exclude immigrants from the DACA program based on a discretionary decision due to national security threats, public safety issues or other criminal history concerns.

It should also be noted that President Obama ordered a significant expansion of DACA in November 2014.

Our Firm's Role in Guiding You

If you have questions about how criminal convictions affect DACA status, you are not alone. We invite you to reach out to us for a free consultation to discuss your unique case. Call 213-784-4504 or complete our online form.