How does USCIS process criminal DREAMers?

For fastest processing of any immigration petition, the best situation to be in is one with zero criminal past.  It does not matter if you were convicted or falsely accused or happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, unfortunately, arrests and detentions are ALWAYS visible to the United States Government agencies (even if they are expunged from your public record).  In other words, if you are not a native born citizen, DO NOT break the law, ever.  Or at least, till you take the oath of a naturalized citizen.

Now, the DACA program is very lenient on DREAMers with criminal past (as many as three non-significant misdemeanors are allowed; crimes committed before you were 18 are often overlooked as long as they are not national security concerns) but as soon as you start to admit that you indeed have broken the law, the application is treated a lot differently.  Needless to add that if you have committed a felony or a significant misdemeanor, the application is rejected right away, but with non-significant misdemeanors, the process gets cumbersome and convoluted as the officer tries to find out each and every detail about the case.  The task is handed over to the Background Check Unit (BCU) for resolution/adjudication.  The officer forwards the application based on information obtained from IDENT (Automatic Biometric Identification System run by US-VISIT).  This is a massive database maintained by United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and contains fingerprints (often called the FD 258) of as many aliens as it encounters.

TECS name check:  This is a check done on any alien over the age of 14.  It is primarily a name based search of databases maintained by dozens of government agencies.  An officer with just a few clicks can find names of suspected terrorists, gang members, criminals, individuals with warrants issued against them, sex offenders, and people who maybe considered as risks to public safety or national security.  If your name pops up, you will be processed by BCU causing delays and complications depending on what crime you have committed.  In addition, your name will be added to what is known as the Interagency Border Inspection Services (IBIS) Manifest.  A copy of this information (also called ROIQ or record of IBIS query) is also added to your so-called Alien or A file.  In other words, this information will be ALWAYS available to the USCIS for all your future applications.

CIS 9101 and CIS 9202 checks:  This is another system check that the agent will do.  The CIS is the Central Index System in National Systems.  In other words, it is a depository of the A# that is assigned to an immigrant and is used as an identifier throughout the immigration process.  The idea behind the CIS searches is to find an A file for you making sure that one person does not have more than one file, and if there are, they should be reconciled and merged.  This makes sure that immigrants cannot use another name or identity to access immigration benefits.  So CIS9101 is a search of this database by entering a passport number, SSN or A# and do an ID search.  CIS9202 is conducted if an alias is found.

CLAIMS other filings/biometrics:  This is the so-called computer linked application information management system (CLAIMS) using which the officer wants to make absolutely sure that there are no additional applications, and if there are, he is aware of them (e.g. you can have a petition filed based on marriage to a citizen) and every single piece of information is one place.

RAP sheets:  This is a record of arrest and prosecution (RAP) so if you were ever arrested and prosecuted, this information is available to the agent and is used in deciding your case.  A copy is also added to your A file for future reference.  This information along with court documents related to the cases maybe reviewed and depending on her judgment, you maybe declared as a public safety or national security risk.  This will not only trigger a denial of the application but the information will be shared with other agencies for proper action like arrest and deportation.

CARRP protocol:  This is the so-called Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program run by the FBI under which aliens who maybe Muslims or come from countries typically associated with terrorists, for example, Pakistan, Somalia, or Yemen, are screened more carefully.  It does not mean that your application will be denied -- as is the case with thousands of Muslims being approved for DACA  -- but delays are more likely.