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Multiple Misdemeanor Disqualifiers for Deferred Action Status

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on August 19, 2012

Soon after announcing the launch of a deferred action program to suspend immigration enforcement actions against qualifying individuals who came to the U.S. as children, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) started to issue clarifying interpretations related to the elements needed for qualification.

Both the White House and DHS have made it clear that eligible participants in the deferred action program cannot have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanors. Qualified participants cannot otherwise pose a threat to national security either.

But when has someone been convicted of multiple misdemeanors for purposes of determining any deferred action status? To ascertain the answer, one must look at what constitutes multiple misdemeanors for purposes of the deferred action program, and what constitutes a conviction.

According to DHS, a person who has not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor (see our posting on significant misdemeanors) but has been convicted of three or more other misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising out of the same act, omission or scheme of misconduct is not eligible to be considered for deferred action under this new process.

A misdemeanor conviction includes any negotiated guilty plea with or without a trial, as well as any sentence decided by a judge or jury after trial. But it does not include a mere arrest or even a charge for committing a felony where that charge has been dropped prior to trial, or where a judge or jury has rendered a finding of not guilty on that charge, or where an appellate judge has reversed or vacated a conviction.

If you are an individual in need of immigration assistance, do not hesitate to contact our office for an appointment to speak with a qualified immigration lawyer at (847) 564-0712. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information on how we might assist you in any of a variety of ways.