Lee & Garasia, LLC
Se Habla Espanol
Tel: 732-516-1717
Toll Free: 888-404-5876
Experience, Accessibility, and Excellence
for Over 20 Years
“When it comes to immigration, I go to Paris and Angie–and trust me, I know a lot of lawyers all over the world.”–Renzo Gracie, Brazilian Jiujitsu and MMA Legend 
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“Lee and Garasia are excellent lawyers, punctual and professional. They are dedicated to going above and beyond the usual level of service to meet your client’s needs. Their staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and polite. I would highly… recommend this firm to anyone.”
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“I would definitely recommend Mr.Lee and Garasia as an immigration attorney because they did a great job with my case i.e. of Adjustment of Status (i-485). Mr. Lee helped us in each and every detailed information and prepared to the best of it. It was all well done and would like to appreciate.”
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“I would like to thank my lawyer Mr Lee & Garasia and the staff for all immense help and patience throughout this entire process, I really appreciate your constant attention to my case, as well to my questions and my concerns. You’ve really made this process much more comprehensive to me, which I greatly appreciate.”
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“Mr. Lee and Ms. Garasia did a great job with my renewal of my permanent residence application. They help prepare the paperwork with such a great attention to details and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time.”
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“Mr. Lee did a great job with the renewal of my permanent residence application. My case was very time sensitive and they worked really fast on my case with great detail and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time.”
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“I would recommend Attorney Paris Lee for anybody who needs immigration consultation. Mr. Lee is THE lawyer who respects and cares clients. Mr. Lee is professional and honest. Bottom line, preparation for the results and NO BS!”
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“Stalin – Lee did a wonderful job, Got my wife her visa in one year. He is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for all your immigration needs.”
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“Hello. I appoint him as my immigration lawyer and that way he solved my cases was truly amazing. He was so honest and knowledgeable for his work. He solved my all family immigration issues and because of his effort we were able to get done our immigration work done successful. Thank you lee and garasia.”
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“Lee & Garasia stand for accountability and responsibility. They are reliable, honest and are always constructively looking for a solution. A big thanks :)”
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Which Crimes in New Jersey Affect Eligibility for DREAM Deferred Action?

One often-overlooked area of discussion regarding the DREAMer Deferred Action program is the effect of criminal convictions on one’s eligibility. The June 15 Memorandum made clear that individuals convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses will not qualify for deferred action. However, it did not specifically define what was a “significant offense” was or even what constituted a felony. Since then, USCIS has released more guidance on the matter on its website (USCIS.GOV):

A felony is defined as a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

A “significant misdemeanor” is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or 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.

Individuals not convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor but who have been convicted of three or more other misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct are similarly disqualified.

In sum, felonies are defined as crimes punishable by more than one-year jail. A “significant misdemeanor” is a crime that is punishable by less than a year in jail (or even no jail) if the crime is of a nature described above, ie., involves violence, theft, drugs, etc. Multiple misdemeanors are three or more misdemeanors that do not arise out of the same day or incident.

In New Jersey, those with convictions for petty offenses such as Shoplifting (NJSA 2C:20-11), Simple Assault (NJSA 2C:12-1), possession of marijuana under 50 grams (NJSA 2C:35-10(a)(4)), and even DWI (NJSA 39:4-50) could possibly be disqualified. Even though these offenses would not be classified as felonies–since the maximum possible jail sentence in municipal court for an offense in New Jersey is six months–they would nevertheless arguably bar an applicant if USCIS deems the offense(s) a significant misdemeanor. Theoretically, even three separate convictions of disorderly conduct (NJSA 2C:33-2) arising out of different days and incidents could disqualify an individual under the multiple misdemeanors prong. Given the importance of having a “clean” record, it is especially important for potentially eligible DREAMers who have to appear in municipal court to consult with both qualified criminal and immigration defense counsel.

8/3/12 Update: According to FAQ#2, a “significant misdemeanor” is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or driving while under the influence, regardless of the sentence imposed. Any offense not involving the aforementioned areas but in which an individual has served 90 days in jail will also be deemed a “significant misdemeanor.”