Immigration Agency Reverses Position On DACA Renewals, Says It Will Accept Some Late Applications

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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The federal agency responsible for processing the final round of renewals for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program announced Wednesday night it would accept applications that arrived late due to mail delays.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had previously said any DACA applications received after an Oct. 5 deadline would not be processed. Following reports that USCIS had rejected at least 100 applications that arrived past the deadline because of mail delivery problems, the agency reversed course and said it would allow those applicants to resubmit their renewal requests.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke told immigration officials to allow DACA recipients to resend their paperwork if they could provide proof they had mailed the applications in a timely fashion, reports the New York Times. The applicants must also show their submissions arrived after the deadline because of mail delays.

After it established the Oct. 5 deadline, USCIS notified potential applicants that their paperwork would have to be received at one of three intake centers by that date, not simply postmarked. At least 70 applications are known to have arrived late because of mail delivery issues, for which the Postal Service has accepted responsibility.

Immigration attorneys in New York have reported that several other rejected applications arrived at a USCIS intake center in Chicago on Oct. 5, but were not accepted by the agency until the next day.

DHS acknowledged the mishap in its announcement Wednesday.

“In addition, USCIS had discovered certain cases in which the DACA requests were received at the designated filing location by the filing deadline, but were rejected,” officials said, according to TheNYT. “USCIS will proactively reach out to those DACA requestors to inform them that they may resubmit their DACA request.”

The Trump administration canceled the DACA program on Sept. 5, affecting about 690,000 illegal immigrants who had active deferred status. Of the total DACA population, immigrants whose status was set to expire on or before March 5, 2018 were allowed to renew their protections for a two-year period.

The dispensation led to a flood of about 132,000 renewal applications, according to USCIS figures. At least 4,000 of those renewals were rejected because they arrived after the Oct. 5 deadline.

It is not clear how many of the 4,000 arrived late due to mail delivery problems.

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