The good people at the National Immigration Project, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, and United we Dream have issued the following important warning to people interested in applying for deferred action under the new prosecutorial discretion guidelines announced by President Obama.
DO NOT apply without getting your criminal history (including juvenile delinquency adjudications) reviewed FIRST. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will conduct background checks, collect information from local law enforcement, and examine your criminal history, including arrest records and criminal warrants. You risk having DHS and/or ICE detain and deport you, if you apply for deferred action without having your criminal history reviewed.
They also point out that there are many disqualifying variables in the policy memorandum that are open to interpretation, and that have not been properly defined by the administration.
- The definition of "significant misdemeanor";
- What constitutes a public safety threat; and
- What constitutes a national security threat.
They offer the following recommendations:
1. Get a copy of your record from whatever court your case was heard, including all juvenile delinquency adjudications. Try to get copies of police reports, a criminal history background check, or your “rap sheet.” Many states already have systems for you to collect your criminal history. In many cases, you can find it on your local county website or state government websites. Make sure you get them from all states where you believe you may have been arrested or convicted.
2. Meet with a nonprofit organization, an immigration attorney or advocate experienced in deportation defense or the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Make sure they review all your arrest information and criminal conviction documents. Do NOT consult “Notarios” if you have a criminal history.
Click here to read the warning.
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).