DACA Future Uncertain

The Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows people brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country, work and obtain drivers’ licenses. The program was terminated under the current administration, but recipients were allowed to keep their permits until they expired at the end of the two-year term. Those whose applications were going to expire before March 5 were granted a brief renewal window, with an application deadline of October 5. However, many recipients unwittingly missed that deadline, causing their renewals to be denied.

USPS Delay Leads to Denials

A few months ago, the United States Post Office (USPS) experienced delays, causing 4,000 DACA applications to not be delivered by the October 5, 2017 deadline. After an initial declaration that nothing could be done, and all decisions were final, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has since stated that it will consider renewal requests affected by the mail service issues.

Generally, the agency follows its regulations, which state that requests are not considered received until the date of receipt at the final location and USCIS is not responsible for mail service delays. Many argue that adherence to this rule shows a lack of compassion for applicants who allowed sufficient time for their applications’ timely arrival. USPS investigated the processing issue (which has since been resolved) and a spokesman for the USCIS stated that the agencies were working together to address any potential issues affecting DACA applicants.

Recourse for DACA Recipients

USCIS later announced that DACA requestors may either provide proof that their request was mailed in a timely manner and the USPS mail service error caused their request to be late or they may explain their case to USPS, which may then submit a letter to the USCIS on their behalf. However, many DACA recipients are left in limbo, unsure of whether they will draw the unwanted attention of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to an Illinois representative, innocent immigrants are being subject to deportation because of someone’s failure to do their job correctly.

Consequences of DACA Cancellation

A Pennsylvania man – originally from Guatemala – was recently arrested for driving with expired registration. When it was discovered that his license had expired, ICE was alerted, and he was held in immigration detention for four days. His case resonated with an immigrant and refugee advocacy group which gathered 15 people to support him during his incarceration. The man was subsequently released from detention and his attorney credited ICE with being fair and reasonable in the case.

Many other DACA recipients face an uncertain future due to the cancellation of the DACA program, which has provided 800,000 young adults with temporary protection and work permits. The program is currently an executive action, not a permanent law. If Congress does not act to make it a statute, the program will end as of March 5, 2018, according to the Trump administration.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Fight for Immigrants’ Rights

If you have an immigration problem, contact a knowledgeable Philadelphia immigration lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. We have decades of experience helping the immigrant population throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide. Our skilled attorneys work with various immigration agencies and handle all types of immigration issues. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-925-4435 or toll-free at 888-452-9578.