The U.S. immigration department maintains various amnesty laws that provide protection to political refugees and asylees. In comparison, administrative amnesty refers to certain executive policies that grant protections to persons who originally entered into the country illegally. The foremost example of such a law is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). These types of laws are passed through executive (presidential) mechanisms rather than through the immigration department.

Unlike other amnesty laws and policies, the DACA actually does not provide pathways for the person to achieve citizenship. It also does not provide the person with a change in status or a switch to lawful immigration status. Instead, the provision simply delays removal (deportation) actions for the persons that qualify.

Who Qualifies for Deferred Action?

There are many qualifications that must be met for an applicant applying for deferred removal action. These include:

  • Must be no older than 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012
  • Must have entered the U.S. before they were 16 years old
  • Must have resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • The person must also be physically present in the country from June 15 2012 (and also at the time they are requesting deferred removal)
  • Have a clean criminal record (no felonies, no significant misdemeanors, less than 3 misdemeanors)
  • Lawful immigration status (if any) must have expired by June 2012

As the DACA is aimed at children and younger people, the applicant must also be in school at the time of petition, or they must have already graduated from high school. Military service may be considered as well.

Can Administrative Amnesty Be Denied?

Yes- applications can be denied if it is found that the person doesn’t meet the above requirements. Any instances of fraud or deceit in an amnesty application may be met with severe penalties for the offender. Thus, it’s important that the applicant consider carefully when applying for administrative amnesty.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Administrative Amnesty Laws?

Mistakes or errors on an administrative amnesty application can cast doubt on the applicant’s credibility, and may cause further delays. You may wish to hire a immigration lawyer if you need assistance with any type of immigration issue. Your attorney can provide you with valuable advice to guide you during the process. Also, in the event that you or a loved one needs to attend a hearing before an immigration panel, your attorney can direct you towards the proper procedures to follow.