Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'I have a quick question...': Questions from deferred action applicants pour in

Photo by Marcus Ramberg/Flickr
A post from last week with a few basics on who can apply for deferred action, a form of temporary legal status under a new policy benefiting young undocumented immigrants, has drawn more than150 comments so far.

Most of these have been questions from hopeful applicants. What has resulted is a broad question-and-answer forum on the site, with several people providing the answers, some less correct than others.

As more questions come in, I've passed them along to an immigration attorney, who has been posting answers directly to the comment thread.

The application process is complicated, requiring extensive documentation proving that applicants meet age, residency and other requirements. Among other things, they must have entered the United States prior to turning 16, have lived here for five consecutive years, have a record free of serious criminal offenses and have been no older than 30 as of last June 15.

Here I'll share just a few of the questions* asked, with replies from Telemundo network legal expert and attorney Alma Rosa Nieto, who has provided legal analysis on deferred action in several related posts since before the application process began last Wednesday.

And feel free to join the conversation.

Jary6293: Do I need to add all of the addresses I live in the past 5 years I continually lived, or all years I lived in the USA? It's in the form. I'm unsure of that and I lived in many places in the past 12 years. Also do I have to make the checks separately?

Attorney Nieto: One check or money order is fine. Yes you must add all addresses, if you need space add an addendum. Better to over document and not have your information be conflictive with any investigation DHS may run on you.

Yii84lin: I entered U.S. when I just turn to 16. Am I qualified for this? I am 27 years old now and I graduated from university last year.

Attorney Nieto: If you had your 16th birthday OUTSIDE  the U.S. you are not elegible for DACA even though you meet the other requirements. Sorry.

Brian: I have a quick question. What does I-94 record mean? I'm soo confused if anybody can help me would be great! :/

Attorney Nieto: The I-94 is a form issued by immigration upon legal entry into the U.S. If the applicant entered without inspection you needn't fill this out.

AR: I have a question regarding the organization of documents. I have approximately thirty documents which verify my identity and support my claims for extent of time I have spent in the United States. I cannot afford a lawyer, and have simply numbered the documents and attached an itemized list of documents. Is this an appropriate method? Is there a specific method to follow?

Attorney Nieto: Yes, in order of chronology makes it easy on the immigration agent to approve your case because it is easy to review.

Akaflaca22: Do we have to also translate the passport?

Attorney Nieto: All documents in a language other than English should be translated.

For Medical Use Only: I was arrested for possessing less than a gram of marijuana in CA in 2008. Is this a "significant misdemeanor?"

Attorney Nieto: Get the arrest report at the local police station where you were arrested, then run a state check with your state, eg. in CA it would be Department of Justice in Sacramento. Take the two to an immigration attorney for review BEFORE filling!!!!


There are some non-experts providing technical advice on the comment thread, so buyer beware. But there is also a interesting peer conversation taking place, with people sharing their experience as they apply. Read all of the comments here.

There are also guidelines to the deferred action process at uscis.gov.

*Copyedited slightly for clarity. I've kept the language in the questions fairly intact, keeping in mind that some readers learned English as their second language.

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