On August 3, 2012, USCIS issued and released revised guidance regarding eligibility for the DREAM Deferred Action Program. The actual form itself as well as more detailed procedures will be released on August 15, 2012. In the interim, USCIS did clarify that an individual has to be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. Additionally, we now have a better understanding of what type of criminal violations will disqualify someone from consideration. The government has made clear that prosecutorial discretion will not be extended to those with felony convictions. A felony is a “federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” Furthermore, 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. Fortunately, a minor traffic, in and of itself, does not appear to be an impediment, although an individuals entire offense history will be reviewed in its totality to determine whether an exercise of prosecutorial discretion is warranted. In other words, the government will take a look at the “big picture”: if a person has a history of repeat offenses or a long history of offenses, it may reflect negatively on the person’s character and could possibly jeopardize the person’s chances of being granted Deferred Action Status.
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