Can I Renew My DACA If I Have a Misdemeanor?

If you’ve seen the news headlines in the past week or so, then you’ve probably heard of “DACA.” For those who are not familiar with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), here’s a brief rundown. In 2012, Obama issued the policy change to suspend the deportation of illegal immigrants who entered as minors, and allow them to obtain work permits. This helped many people remain in the country without fear of deportation back to their homelands. But, it has recently been ended by the Trump administration, and the President has called on Congress to act instead.

DACA and Criminal History

A background check is conducted when reviewing requests for consideration of DACA. Background checks involve checking biographic and biometric information provided by individuals against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal government agencies. So, you may be wondering whether you can renew your DACA with a criminal history. Here is the current position of the Department of Homeland Security:

If you have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, you will not be considered for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) except where the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines there are exceptional circumstances.

Therefore, it seems that most criminal offenses would disqualify you from applying for the DACA program. For purposes of DACA, a felony offense is a “federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” For more information on what constitutes a “significant misdemeanor offense,” see the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services government website. Minor traffic offenses, while not significant, may be considered when checking your entire offense history. DUI offenses are a significant misdemeanor regardless of the sentence imposed.

Expungement Immigration Consequences

Undocumented workers convicted of a crime are at extreme risk if they do not have a clean criminal record. Traditionally, even a single petty theft could disqualify someone from obtaining immigration benefits. Any mistake and mark on your record could make or break a standing immigration case. So, maybe you’ve considered a criminal record expungement or sealing.

Unfortunately, most criminal justice agencies can still obtain access to expunged or sealed records. Expungement and record sealing processes always differ depending on the state. Regardless, expunging your criminal record may not help for immigration purposes. However, there are still many other benefits to a clear criminal record. Read our blog to see if a criminal record can get you deported, or more on the Trump travel ban and immigration issues. Or, take our new and improved eligibility test to see if you qualify for a criminal record expungement or sealing.

15 thoughts on “Can I Renew My DACA If I Have a Misdemeanor?”

  1. Would a conviction of the lowest class felony make you ineligible to renew Daca? Non violent, non drug related or not relating to a dui?

    1. Axel – I would check the government’s website to determine if it’s a “significant misdemeanor offense.”

  2. I am getting sentenced as Prohibited person with a fire arm, the guns were not stolen or used in any crime only for sport idk what to do inwas not aware that I cloud not have guns

  3. Hi
    I have been really concern if I can I get on Daca again ! Im from Texas and was on Daca when president Obama was in office in 2010. As of 2016 I was arrested twice for possession on marijuana I have 2 mistemitor charges , but where dropped cause these where my fist offenses being troubled with the law!On May 25,2017 my daca expired, few months ago after the incident my wife and I applied for spouse /husband petition ! It has been approved and everything now it needs to be sent to cuidad juarez and schedule an appointment for interview !
    For the time being I’m illegal and need to work to feed my 2 daughters and wife and have a valid id for driving! So is it worth getting back on daca for protection of deportation or just wait for interview in cuidad juarez mx!

    – Thank you to whom it may concern to!

  4. Hi, I was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence and my Daca expired about 3 years ago can I still be eligible to renew my Daca and get it!?????

  5. Would a misdemeanor resisting arrest record disqualify from renewing daca in this case it would be the charge staying on record and the two other charges being dismissed after completion of the Illinois alternate prosecution program dismissing (one charge resisting arrest and one Charge assault) Leaving only one resisting arrest charge on record? Would r try he individual be able to renew or would it disqualify he/she from doing so?

  6. I was charged of a 1192 01, DWAI in NY is not considered a Felony or a Significant Misdemeanor. The charges were expunged.. I never went to Jail, only when I got pulled over , I was 19. Other than that I don’t have absolutely anything on my record.
    I got my Daca, for two years I started working hard on my dreams, getting my license, starting my own business, go to college and more! The time to renew my DACA came, I went to my lawyer and filled my applications on March 2019 so I can be all good when my daca expired on June 7, I got a letter for my Biometrics and my surprise! my daca expired before I did my biometrics, the USCIS agent told me that they got the renewal paperwork in June.. My lawyer sent the paperwork in JUNE, I couldn’t believe it.. I felt like I was going to die, I got depressed so did my wife, Anyways I had to wait 3to 4 more months, I waited and waited, checking my status on the website, and finally it changed to “We’ve sent a letter to tell you the next steps” I got the letter and you will not believe what it said, “In order to be considered for renewal of DACA you must me the guidelines for consideration initial DACA. HOWEVER YOUR INITIAL REQUEST FOR DACA WAS APPROVED BY ERROR.” you have been convicted of a Significan Misdemeanor. Like ARE YOU SERIOUS! now I don’t know what to do, Im really sad, I got let go of my job, I cannot start my business and I’m living with fear, THEIR LITTLE MISTAKE messed me psychologically, emotionally, Ive been constantly going to the doctor. I really don’t know what to do

    1. Eddie – we are sorry to hear about your situation. Our firm does offer services in expunging misdemeanors but we would need more information to truly understand your situation. Please take our free, confidential eligibility test or give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to learn about how to start the process.

  7. So I got arrested in the beginning of 2019, i admitted what I did wrong, I was placed in the 24 hour hold, but I was released I never got a court date nor a bond and bail I was just free since I haven’t gotten a charge. I went to renew my DACA in September 2019 a month later it said I couldn’t renew cause I have the police charge, but once I got my lawyer to get a copy like the system asked they said it was close, my lawyer is trying to reopen the case so he can get the paper saying I wasn’t convicted with a felon or misdemeanor and had no court date. Is still okay I can still redeem my DACA back?

  8. I got arrested for possession of paraphernalia then just got arrested for possession of marijuana can I still be eligible to renew my daca first charge was class c misdemeanor second is pending case

    1. Hey Tariq – the best way to know if your eligible is to take our free, secure eligibility test as everyone’s case is different. You could also give us a call at (844) 947-3732 and talk to one of our legal representatives for more information.

  9. Hi I was arrested in early 2020. I admitted to what I did wrong I was put on a 24hr hold but was released within that time. I was never given a court date or heard back from detectives etc. I’ve just been a free man since. But I am registered in the jail under my name with charges of paraphernalia w intent to distribute. (Charges that were never convicted or filed in a court.) my daca expires soon. Can I still renew it ?

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