Do You Qualify for Deferred Action? Examples and Explanations


Let’s say you were 12 when you arrived in the U.S. with your parents. You spoke no English and went right to school. You didn’t know at the time that your parents came here without legitimate documents and just being here was a huge risk. You learned English, made friends, learned to live like other American kids, and helped your parents who don’t speak English as well.

Now you’re 21 and quite excited at the prospect of applying for residency. Or can you? Actually, Deferred Action does not provide the possibility for permanency, residence or citizenship. If you meet the criteria for Deferred Action because you were younger than 16 when you came here, you finished school here, you have lived in the U.S. more than 5 years prior to June 15, 2012, you will be able to obtain a social security number, a valid driver’s license, and a work permit based on economic necessity – all great tools for increased income, security, and a brighter future. However, you will only be able to enjoy a terrific career after going to a 4-year college if the program is renewed or a more permanent solution passes Congress (current program is only for two years). Your work permit and driver’s license are temporary until the next step is designed after the two years have expired. At least you have a reprieve and a chance to step closer to permanency.

But what if you were arrested when you were 19 for suspicion of gang activity? Even if that was a wrongful arrest, it can raise a red flag in the application for Deferred Action. The fact that you have tattoos (gotten at 18) and were seen near a gang didn’t exclude you from the arrest and has left a blemish on your record that can be questioned. Until August 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) isn’t accepting ANY applications. They are not ready; they don’t have a system. Still, according to their guidelines, you are eligible as long as you haven’t been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or pose a threat to national security or public safety. Since having tattoos and NOT being involved in a gang or a gang’s activities does not constitute an offense, there is good reason you will be considered for Deferred Action.

Let’s look at another situation: What if you have a close friend who was arrested for DUI? He was pulled over after leaving a family party. He didn’t think he was speeding or swerving, but he had one last shot and got into his car to go home. At 2 a.m., on a quiet street, that last shot got him in trouble. His options were to accept the ticket by pleading guilty or hire an experienced traffic attorney to represent him. He plead guilty and put it behind him. Your friend may not qualify for Deferred Action because it is considered a significant misdemeanor.

USCIS defines a significant misdemeanor as a federal, state, or local criminal offense that may be accompanied by imprisonment and involves violence, threats, assault (including domestic violence); sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, fraud, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.

Even if convicted, your friend may file for Post-Conviction Relief and if successful the DUI will not be an impediment to his application. For more information on DUI download our The Truth About Your DUI, got to our blog, and you can always contact one of our attorneys to evaluate your options.

If, on the other hand, you attended school, you have no prior arrests, then you can begin the process of application for Deferred Action. As soon as the USCIS has developed a system of accepting and reviewing applications, you will be able to apply.

I am concerned about the definitions and clarity of this program. Some issues to look out for when full guidelines are issued:

  • Will there be ramifications for your family members if you apply and are denied?
  • The definition of multiple misdemeanors can traffic violations make you ineligible?
  • Will rehabilitation and other favorable circumstances be considered in the review process?
  • What guidelines will be used to determine if you are a threat to public safety?

These questions and more information will follow in other articles. Keep checking my website for additional, helpful information and feel free to contact my office with any questions you may have.

Share This Post!

Related Posts

Call Us Today!

New Jersey Immigration Attorney

We're here 24/7.
Call Now!

Eatontown, NJ


286 RT 35
Unit D
Eatontown, NJ 07724


Lakewood, NJ


212 2nd Street
Suite 104
Lakewood, NJ 08701


Newark, NJ


50 Park Place
Suite #1101
Newark, NJ 07102


Edison, NJ


1929 NJ-27
Edison, NJ 08817


1065 US-22 Suite 2B
Bridgewater Township, NJ 08807


Freehold, NJ


36 W Main St, Suite 302,
Freehold, NJ 07728


Copyright 2022 Provencher and Flatt, LLP - All Rights Reserved. Powered by Advantage Attorney Marketing & Cloud Solutions

Free Deportation Risk Assessment

Where you ever caught at by immigration and returned to your country? (¿Dónde alguna vez te pilló inmigrando y regresaste a tu país?)*

Have you ever been arrested for any reason? (¿Alguna vez te han arrestado por alguna razón?)*

How many times have been arrested? (¿Cuántas veces han sido arrestados?)*

Were you arrested for any of the following reasons? (Check all that apply) (¿Te arrestaron por alguna de las siguientes razones?)

Have you ever filed for an immigration benefit and been denied? (¿Alguna vez ha presentado un beneficio de inmigración y se le ha negado?)*

Have you entered the US illegally more than once after 1997? (¿Ha entrado ilegalmente en los Estados Unidos más de una vez después de 1997?)*

Do you owe back child support? (¿Debes manutención infantil?)*

Arrested in New Jersey

Request Your Free Copy

Solicite su copia gratuita

Immigration Book

Request Your Free Copy

Solicite su copia gratuita

Immigration Attorney

Request Your Free Copy

Solicite su copia gratuita

Find Out Immediately If You Qualify for Legal Status


Your privacy is important to us. We will keep the information you provide strictly confidential. We only use your information to determine if you may be eligible for immigration benefits in the United States. The information we provide should not be construed as legal advice and submission of this form does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Ingrese la siguiente información para aceptar los términos y condiciones.

Enter the following information to accept the terms and conditions.

Start Here!

Información Personal / Personal Information


Idioma Preferido*

Preferred Language

Fecha Nacimiento*

Date of Birth

Pais de Nacimiento*

Country of Birth

Entradas a las EEUU / Entries into the US


Fecha Entrada*

Date of Entry

Entrada Legal*

Did you enter legally?



¿Tiene usted padres, conyuge o hijos mayores de 21 anos,Que ha estado o esta en las fuerzas armadas Americanas?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child over 21 who is or was in the US military?

¿Tiene usted padres,conyuge o hijos mayores de 21 anos, ciudadanos Americanos o residentes permanentes?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child over 21 who is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident?

¿Ha tenido usted, sus padres o sus abuelos un estado legal en los EEUU?*

Did you, your parents, or your grandparents ever have legal status in the U.S.?

¿Esta considerando matrimonio con us ciudadano Americano o residente permanente? ( mismo sexo incluido)*

Are you considering marriage to a US citizen or green card holder (same-sex marriage included)?



¿Alguien ha peticionado a su favor por motivos de inmigración?*

Has anyone ever filed an immigration petition for you before?

¿Ha sido usted deportado o esta usted en procedimiento de deportación ahora?*

Have you ever been deported or are you in deportation proceedings now?

Ha sido abusado por sus padres, conyuge o hijo mayor de edad?*

Has your parent, spouse, or adult child been abusive to you?

¿Si es asi, fue previo a Abril 30 del 2001?*

If so, was it before April 30, 2001?



¿Fue usted, conyuge, sus padres, pareja o sus hijos victimas de de un crimen violento en los EEUU?*

Were you, your parents, siblings, spouse, partner, or children a victim of a violent crime in the US?

¿Es usted menor de 21 años y soltero?*

Are you under 21 and not married?

¿Tiene usted un padre, conyuge o hijo menor de 15 anos con requerimientos especiales médicos (dificultades de estudio, alergias severas, asma u otra condición medica severa)?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child under 15 with medical or special needs (learning disability, severe allergies or asthma, or other serious medical condition)?

¿Fue usted maltratado, abusado o abandonado por sus padres?*

Did your parents mistreat, abuse, or abandon you?



¿Tenia usted 30 anos o menos en Junio, 15, 2012?*

Were you 30 years or under on June 15, 2012?

¿Tenía usted 15 años o menos en su primera entrada en los EEUU?*

Were you 15 years old or younger on your first entry into the US?

Click below now to see if you qualify!

¡Haga clic abajo ahora para ver si califica!

New Jersey Immigration Attorney

Get Instant Access

Enter your name and email address below to get instant access.

New Jersey Immigration Attorney

¡Obtenga acceso instantáneo ahora!

Ingrese su nombre y dirección de correo electrónico a continuación