Questions continue to be raised about the various aspects of eligibility for the deferred action that the federal government recently granted to hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth. In my column in La Opinión This week I continue to answer some of the questions I have received from readers. Here I answer your questions in a general way. Each case is different, so you should consult an attorney for personalized legal advice.
I came to the United States in 2008 at the age of 14. I just graduated from high school. I know I do not qualify for deferred action because I have not lived at least 5 years in the US before the program was announced. My friends tell me that I should send in an application when the enrollment period opens and lie about when I came to the U.S. What would happen to me if upon reviewing my application the government finds out that I lied? - Leonor S.
I do not recommend that you lie. A person who knowingly makes a false representation to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or fails to disclose relevant facts in order to receive deferred action or employment authorization under this new process, could be subject to criminal charges. This could cause your case to be considered a high priority, resulting in your possible deportation from the United States.
Will I be able to travel out of the country if I am granted deferred action? - Miguel P.
USCIS has not yet said whether people who receive deferred action will be allowed to travel outside the country with Advance Parole. Even if they are allowed to travel, anyone who after April 1, 1997 has accumulated undocumented time of more than 180 consecutive days after the age of 18 should consult an immigration attorney before leaving the country, because travel could trigger the penalty law. This law penalizes a person between 3 to 10 years, not allowing him/her to become a permanent resident of the U.S. unless he/she obtains a pardon.
I was found guilty of a felony, am I eligible to apply for deferred action? - Oscar D.
You are not eligible to apply for deferred action.According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a felony (felony) is a federal, state or local criminal offense that carries a jail sentence of one year or more. It is imperative that you consult with an immigration attorney to evaluate your legal options.