What should I know about DACA and criminal convictions?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA has long been a blessing for undocumented immigrants whose parents brought them here as children. However, recent changes mean that DACA may no longer offer the protection that it used to. To stay in South Carolina under DACA, you must meet specific requirements. 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that it will continue to accept renewal DACA applications only. This is fine if you just need to renew, but the trouble comes in if you have legal troubles and end up with a criminal conviction. Not every crime will prevent you from renewing your application, but you should know how the USCIS handles this type of situation. 

Type of offense 

The first thing you have to consider is your type of offense. Something very minor is not going to disqualify you in most cases, including minor traffic violations, such as a speeding ticket. However, you may face disqualification if you have three or more misdemeanors, any felony offense or a significant misdemeanor. 

Significant misdemeanor 

A significant misdemeanor is a charge with a maximum sentence of five days to one year in prison. The following offenses are always a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence: driving under the influence, burglary, domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug distribution or trafficking and the unlawful possession of certain types of weapons. 

Automatic denial 

It is not always an automatic denial of your DACA renewal if you have a criminal charge. The USCIS looks individually at each situation, including the circumstances of your conviction. It also considers the type of crime and the number of crimes. In many cases, you may have a criminal charge but still be able to renew under DACA. 

Knowing your criminal background is very important when renewing your DACA application. You need to prepare for the investigation so you can defend yourself properly. Se habla español.