DACA Deadline Extends for Some Applicants

Fed officials plan to allow some beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to reapply for work permits and for deportation protections after a mail delay of renewal requests in some cities caused application delays. With proof that delayed arrival of a renewal request application was caused by mail service delays within the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to accept DACA renewal requests from individuals who resubmit their applications.

“Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Elaine Duke has directed USCIS to accept DACA renewal requests from individuals who resubmit their DACA renewal request with individualized proof that the request was originally mailed in a timely manner and that the cause for receipt after the Oct. 5, 2017, deadline was the result of the USPS mail service error,” according to a USCIS release.

Guidance for individuals without proof of a timely-sent application calls for contacting USPS for an individual case review. Postal officials will provide a letter to individuals determined to have gotten their paperwork caught up in the mail service delay. USCIS requires DACA renewal resubmissions to include this letter from the post office when no other proof of sending the application is available.

“USCIS will not accept requests that do not include individualized proof that the request was originally mailed in a timely manner to be received by the October 5 deadline, and that the cause for receipt after the Oct. 5, 2017, deadline was the result of USPS mail service error,” according to agency Guidance.

Besides renewal applications affected by the U.S. mail, USCIS also reports the discovery of “certain cases in which DACA requests were received at the designated filing location (e.g., at the applicable P.O.Box) by the filing deadline, but were rejected.” In these cases, agency officials plan to “proactively reach out to those DACA requestors to inform them that they may resubmit their DACA request.”

Individuals not invited to resubmit a DACA renewal application and who believe their DACA request was received at the designated filing location by the October 5 filing deadline are also invited to resubmit their applications– again with individual proof “that the request was previously received at the designated filing location on or before the filing deadline.”

According to one report, the scope of the DACA renewal application problems is still unknown but dates back to as early as September 11. Because some DACA recipients have not or will not reapply for the protection, “at least 18,000 immigrants are going to lose their DACA protections.”

While DHS leniency in giving those who missed the original deadline a second chance to maintain protections offers short-term reassurance in how the Trump Administration aims to move forward with DACA immigrants, it’s possible that this approach could lull Congress into more inaction in passing immigration reform.

“Legislatively, it’s possible that some members of Congress will feel less urgency in passing a bill to address the status of DACA recipients as quickly as possible. But even though fewer people are likely to lose protections in the coming weeks and months because of DHS’s reversal, thousands still will.”