NEW YORK, NY – On Thursday November 30th, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new guidelines and FAQs for re-submitting some of the previously rejected DACA renewal applications.
Since early November, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and the Immigrant Advocacy Response Collaborative (I-ARC) have been tracking DACA renewals that had been mailed on time to meet the October 5th deadline, but were later rejected by USCIS due to mail-related errors. On November 10th, The New York Times revealed that hundreds of DACA renewal applications were rejected. In a deposition this week, USCIS officials admitted that up to 4,000 applications had been rejected because of federal government error.
The guidelines and FAQs published by USCIS on November 30th pertain only to applications that were received by the post office on the October 5th deadline, but were not accepted by USCIS until the following day. These individuals must wait to receive a letter from USCIS indicating that their application can be re-submitted within 33 days. This does not apply to all applications rejected because of other mail delivery errors. The guidelines also do not apply to applications rejected because of clerical issues, which USCIS has stated will no longer be accepted.
“Our lawyers and their clients moved mountains and moved swiftly to ensure they met the sudden October 5th DACA renewal deadline. While we are glad to see USCIS taking steps to rectify the applications that were delivered by October 5th and not picked up until the next day, this only partially addresses the issue that we flagged nearly three weeks ago. This sluggish response by USCIS has caused unnecessary and continuing hardship for DACA recipients who did their best to comply with an unreasonable deadline. While USCIS’s decision and FAQs are a reprieve to some DACA recipients, it leaves others confused, terrified and in limbo,” said Camille Mackler, Director of Immigration Legal Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, “It rests on USCIS, USPS, and DHS to clearly explain their procedures and rectify these issues by accepting all applications postmarked before October 5th, including those that contained clerical errors that would not have been cause for rejection prior to October 5, 2017.”
The NYIC will continue to work with our members and partners, including I-ARC, to urge USCIS to correct these errors and accept all rejected applications that were filed in good faith to comply with the sudden deadline imposed upon them. For more information and up-to-date information, please visit www.thenyic.org/DACA.
On September 5th, the Trump Administration announced that it would phase out the DACA program, which protects over 800,000 young people, who were brought to the United States as children, from deportation. According to a memo released by the Department of Homeland Security, anyone who has a DACA permit expiring between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 could apply for a two-year renewal. That application had to be submitted by October 5th. Subsequently, DACA recipients and their lawyers swiftly filed for renewals well ahead of the deadline.
I-ARC is a collaborative of 65 immigration, legal, nonprofit services around New York State, including The Legal Aid Society, the Immigrant Justice Corps, Legal Services NYC, Sanctuary for Families, the Immigrant Defense Project, Catholic Charities Community Services, the Community Justice Clinic at the University of Buffalo School of Law, My Sister’s Place, CARECEN-NY, the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the New York Immigration Coalition. I-ARC was formed by several legal service providers building on the momentum of the legal efforts at JFK airport in January 2017 in response to President Trump’s initial Muslim Ban and the subsequent #NoBanJFK movement.
The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for more than 200 groups in New York State. We envision a New York state that is stronger because all people are welcome, treated fairly, and given the chance to pursue their dreams. Our mission is to unite immigrants, members, & allies so all New Yorkers can thrive. We represent the collective interests of New York's diverse immigrant communities and organizations and devise solutions to advance them; advocate for laws, policies, and programs that lead to justice and opportunity for all immigrant groups; and build the power of immigrants and the organizations that serve them to ensure their sustainability, to improve people's lives, and to strengthen our state.