Post Office Delays Could Cost DACA Recipients Their Status

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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Some participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program might lose their temporary protected status due to postal delays in getting their renewal paperwork to the correct department, according to a Friday report.

Various lawyers located in New York and Chicago have come forward to report the post office’s delay in delivering DACA paperwork before the Oct. 5 deadline, potentially jeopardizing the protections the participants have been receiving, The New York Times reported Friday.

“Because somebody else did not do their job correctly, we are taking innocent young immigrants and making them deportable. That is unacceptable,” Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez told TheNYT.

New York immigrant lawyers have reported 33 cases in which their clients may have lost their temporary protected status. In one such case, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society sent in the paperwork Sept. 16 to the United States Citizenship and Immigrant Services to renew her client’s DACA status before the Oct. 5 deadline.

However, the paperwork remained “in transit” from Sept. 17-19, disappeared from the tracking system until Oct. 4 before finally arriving Oct. 6, one day after the official deadline for DACA renewals had passed. Jose, the DACA applicant, ultimately  had his status rejected. The same problem reportedly occurred with 21 other applications sent from the Chicago area.

The U.S Postal Service took responsibility for the problem in a statement to TheNYT, saying there had been an “unintentional” delay in processing the mail. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said that, while it would be looking into how the delay happened, the department “is not responsible for the mail service an individual chooses or for delays on the part of the mail service providers.”

The Trump administration announced the rollback of the DACA program with a six-month pause to give Congress time to act. DACA recipients whose status expired before March 5, 2018 were able to renew their status for an additional two years of protection.

“This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out. Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months. Thus, in effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act,” Trump said in previous statement.

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