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On October 20, 2013, Cynthya Garcia-Cisneros, 19-year-old Oregon woman, drove an SUV into a leaf pile, accidentally killing two young girls playing in it. Prosecutors said the crash in Forest Grove, 25 miles west of Portland, was an accident. But Ms. Garcia-Cisneros fled the scene of the accident and didn’t come forward after learning she might have struck the children. A jury found her guilty of two counts of felony hit and run (one for each child) and sentenced her to three years of probation and 250 hours of community service. Ms. Garcia-Cisneros, born in Mexico, was brought to the U.S. when she was a 4-year-old. She has temporary permission to be in the country legally under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This program gives her work authorization and allows her a social security number and to apply for a driver’s license. To be eligible for the program, immigrants must prove

    1. They arrived in the United States before they turned 16,
    2. Are under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012,
    3. Have been living in the U.S. since June 15 2007,
    4. Were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012,
    5. Didn’t have legal status on June 15, 2012,
    6. Are in school or graduated from high school or GED, and
    7. Have not been convicted of certain crimes.

Those convicted of a certain offenses are generally not eligible for DACA. Here, Ms. Garcia-Cisneros was approved for DACA before this incident. She was placed in removal proceedings after being sentenced. Even though she has lived 15 of her 19 years in the U.S., she may be removed (deported) to Mexico. It is unclear whether she is eligible for any other benefit. Leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injuries can be a serious offense. The incident may have been an accident but the conscious decision to leave the scene was not. Immigration may consider it a crime of moral turpitude. An immigration Judge, even a sympathetic one, will have a hard time overlooking that she caused the deaths of two young girls. For her sake, I hope she has someone to petition for her, because otherwise she will likley be removed back to Mexico. Want to learn more about DACA, order our FREE book, “PItfalls of Obama’s Deferred Action for DREAMers.” Do you Qualify for DACA or some other legal status? Go to or text “Qualify” to 732-481-1082 and answer some quick questions to find out. Of course, you can always speak to our knowledgable staff at 888-695-6169.