Important Information about Deferred Action for Youth Policy -- If You're an Immigrant Who Has Been Arrested for a Crime in Florida

August 20, 2012 by David S. Seltzer

The Department of Homeland Security has started to accept applications for an intriguing program for young immigrants called Deferred Action for Youth. The program offers exciting opportunities to young immigrants who want to extend their stay in the U.S. But if you're an immigrant who has been charged with a crime in Florida or elsewhere, you need to be very careful about how/whether you try to participate, even if you were never legally convicted of robbery, assault, or any other felony or misdemeanor.

Deferred Action For Youth: NOT the Same Thing as The DREAM Act

The new DHS program is substantially different from a piece of prospective legislation you may have read about called the DREAM Act. Congress has yet to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide green card, visa, and citizenship status to immigrants who meet certain criteria.

Deferred Action is a more limited program that provides people who came to the United States as kids with a buffer period of two years, during which time they cannot be removed from the U.S. or deported. You can get authorization to work, but you cannot get a green card or visa or naturalization status through this program.

Eligibility Requirements: Pretty Strict

The program is available to young people who are less than 31-years-old, as of June 15th 2012, and who arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday. There are also eligibility restrictions with respect to how long you’ve been in the United States, whether or not you're currently in school, and whether or not you’ve ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.

For a detailed list of requirements, see the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' official website on the program.

Important Caveat, If You’ve Ever Been Arrested for a Florida Crime

Even if you were never convicted of your crime, your applying for the Deferred Action program could inadvertently result in your deportation!

Your immigration case may be highly complicated and nuanced, even if you were only arrested and convicted for a minor problem, such as shoplifting or some other form of petty theft. To that end, it behooves you to connect with a Florida criminal defense attorney, such as a member of the team here at Seltzer Law, PA, to get an informed perspective about your rights and potential responsibilities/obstacles.

Call the team today at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-333) any time, 24/7, for fast and compassionate assistance.