After declaring last week that nothing could be done for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications delayed in mail, the United States Citizenship And Immigration Services Agency has now reversed its position and agreed to allow only such application that were rejected for mail delay.
Nearly 100 applications to renew the permits that lets immigrants stay and work in the USA were formally rejected because they had been delayed in the mail, The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency( USCIS) had last week said that nothing could be done about it, and the decision was final.
But the agency seemed to have thought over it and on Wednesday night, it reversed its position. Since the delay was due to the mail departments failure to deliver on time. It agreed to allow only those who were rejected because of mail delays, to resubmit their renewals for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
The Department of Homeland Security’s director, Elaine C. Duke,has asked the immigration agency to allow such applicants to resubmit their paperwork only if they have valid proof that they mailed their renewal in a timely manner. They want to confirm that the reason it missed the Oct. 5 deadline was only because of Postal Service mail delays.
Immigration advocates were happy. They said “We’re glad to see USCIS do the right thing by accepting these applications,” said Camille Mackler, the director of legal immigration policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, an immigrant advocacy group.
“This news will come as a huge relief to DACA recipients who had been living with enormous anxiety for weeks now.” After this news of applications being rejected due to delay first came out.
The Postal Service took responsibility of at least 74 applications from the New York and Chicago area. These were apparently rejected as a result of mail problems in Chicago. After which the immigration agency had clearly stated that it was “not responsible” for mail delays.
Some lawyers in New York brought to light that about 18 out of 34 applications had already arrived at the Chicago location on Oct. 5, as seen in the postal receipts, and still they were not accepted by the immigration agency until the next day.
The government later acknowledged this. It said “In addition, U.S.C.I.S. had discovered certain cases in which the DACA requests were received at the designated filing location (e.g., at the applicable P.O. Box) by the filing deadline, but were rejected,” As reported by the Homeland Security.
“U.S.C.I.S. will proactively reach out to those DACA requestors to inform them that they may resubmit their DACA request.” immigration agency officials were asked to investigate the cause of the delay and subsequent problems.
The agency further told that the details about refund of the $495 application fee and the new date of deadline would be soon announced,
The new Trump administration canceled this DACA program, on Sept. 5. This program had allowed almost 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the country to work illegally as children in getting an education by allowing them to go to schools in the United States without fearing deportation. For people whose permits were about to expire before March 5, 2018 were allowed to renew their applications by the deadline of October 5. to be valid for a span of another 2 years.
This deadline led to a frenzy of 132,000 people filing application. And as per the USCIS data about 4000 applications were rejected. It is still unclear as to eaxactly how many of them were due to mail delays.
As of Wednesday, the number of DACA renewal applications that got rejected due to mail delay have increased up to 115 according to lawyers in the various US states like Texas, Wisconsin, Washington State, North Carolina and Michigan. The Department of Homeland Security received several letters of protest from members of house of representatives and different senators.
USCIS has 3 intake locations also known as lockboxes in the US. They are located in Phoenix, Chicago and Lewisville, Tex., a suburb of Dallas. Reportedly all the three were affected by mail delays. These lockboxes are managed by The treasury department because on the involvement of the checks in the application forms. But a courier company is assigned to pick them up and deliver it to the Immigration agency. The ambiguity about the proper deadline created a confusion. A lot of immigration applications have “Postmarked before this date” guideline. This DACA application did not clearly specify it.
“All of this could have been avoided by not having a very short arbitrary deadline and by responding to our concerns about having a received-by deadline,” Kate Voigt, the associate director of govt. relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association said.