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Susan Pai is admitted to the Washington State Bar, not the Florida Bar Attorney Pai's Florida legal practice is limited exclusively to Immigration & Nationality law

The Reality of Obama’s Deferred Action for DREAMers



  • This is NOT amnesty.
  • Deferred Action means you are deportable or that the government can place you in deportation proceedings but the government is postponing action against you for two years.  At the end of two years, you may still be deported or placed into deportation proceedings.
  • If President Obama is not re-elected, you may not even be able to apply for Deferred Action.  This is because President Obama’s action is not law; it is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion within the Executive Authority of the President.  Once President Obama goes away, so does Deferred Action.  Since you may not apply for about 60 days, the window to even apply for Deferred Action may only be about 50 days long.  This is significant because it takes 45-60 days to obtain your FBI criminal history for personal review (see “How Do I Obtain My Criminal History” here).  As an immigration attorney, I would NEVER allow any client to submit a Deferred Application without having completed a full FBI Criminal History.  Too many people have forgotten about juvenile offenses, shoplifting charges, or confuse criminal traffic matters for simple traffic citations.  Filing any immigration application for someone with any kind of criminal history may actually CAUSE their deportation, not prevent it.
  • If you apply for Deferred Action, you may be required to reveal you have deportable relatives in the U.S. and then they may be subsequently deported.
  • If you apply for Deferred Action, and you have a “significant misdemeanor” which has yet to be defined, you will not get Deferred Action and may instead be deported.
  • If you apply for Deferred Action and you have 3 “non-significant” misdemeanors (any misdemeanors even shoplifting or criminal traffic matters), you will not receive Deferred Action and you may instead be deported (e.g., if one of the misdemeanors is considered a crime involving moral turpitude).
  • If you apply for Deferred Action and you have 1 felony, you will not receive Deferred Action and you will likely be deported.
  • Just because you took a pre-trial intervention, nolo plea, or had a withheld or deferred adjudication does NOT mean you do NOT have a criminal conviction.  I.e., you could have pled “nolo” and still be a convicted felon.

One last thought:  Unless Obama or Rubio is re-elected/elected, you can kiss Deferred Action goodbye.

ACLU Warning-Don’t Get Scammed

Florida Legislature Passes SB1718, anti-immigrant legislation