Deferred Action (DACA) Applications and Crimes, Convictions, Arrests and Charges


An area the Law Offices of Ricky Malik, PC has always gained expertise in is the intersection of immigration with criminal convictions. The new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program raises issues about what crimes or convictions will prevent someone from applying.

Before reading the below list of disqualifiers, please note that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stated that "the decision to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the absence of the criminal history, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered."

  • Attorney: Even if you have been convicted of the below offenses, USCIS will review each application on a case-by-case basis and depending on the totality of circumstances and humanitarian equities, can grant deferred action.

You are ineligible if you have been convicted:

1. A felony: If the crime is classified a felony under law for which imprisonment of more than 1 year may be imposed, it is a disqualifier.

  • Attorney: So even if it is classified a felony, BUT if it is not punishable by more than 1 year, then it will NOT prevent you from applying.

2. A significant misdemeanor: A crime that is punishable with jail from 6 days to 1 year AND is an crime of domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking or, driving under the influence (DUI), OR if it is crime which you actually served 90+ days in jail.

  • Attorney: (A) a DUI is a disqualifier, but is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) not? Eg. in Maryland DUI's and DWI's are different offenses. (B) A suspended sentence will not count towards the 90 days. (C) Noting the above italicized section, it is possible that a person's positives and good deeds can overcome a negative factor.

3. Three (3) or more misdemeanors not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct.

  • Attorney: (A) Often times a person is charged with multiple offenses at once ie. possession of a fictitious ID, false ID to a police officer, forgery, uttering, etc. Unless they are from separate moments, they will not count against an applicant. (B) A minor traffic offense, including driving without a license, will not be considered a misdemeanor for purposes of this process. So even if an applicant has 3 or more driving without a license convictions, that person still qualifies.

For more information about eligibility contact me at or call our office toll free at 877-577-VISA.

Ricky Malik, Esq.