FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2015
USCIS Ramps Up Effort to Collect Three-Year DACA and Work Permits Issued in Error Post-Injunction
Administration to begin home visits on Thursday, July 16
WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin visiting the homes of some beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) who were issued work permits with the wrong expiration date and have yet to return them.
In November 2014, the Obama administration began issuing DACA work permits that were valid for three years — an extension of one year over previous program rules. On February 16, 2015, a federal judge placed a temporary injunction on the change, effectively ordering USCIS to go back to issuing work permits valid for the original two-years from that date forward. However USCIS continued issuing extended work permits for a short period of time as their systems were updated. It is only these mistakenly issued three-year work permits that the agency is asking be returned in exchange for a valid, two-year work permit.
The DACA program benefits nearly 700,000 individuals, and this issue only impacts about 2,500 people. Further, most individuals who were issued work permits with the wrong expiration date have already returned their mistakenly issued work permits, and just over 1,000 remain.
USCIS has threatened to invalidate DACA status entirely for individuals who do not return their mistakenly issued work permits by July 30, 2015. The agency will visit only the homes of those who have not responded to agency letters and calls so far.
Home visits are expected to begin as early as Thursday, July 16, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and possibly Dallas and Houston, only to some homes of the just over 1,000 individuals for whom this applies. Advocates fear confusion and panic because of the visits and have begun an aggressive public education effort to help deal with the situation.
Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, issued the following statement,
“It’s alarming that a mistake by USCIS could cost hundreds of immigrant youth their DACA and their work permits. The administration’s mistake could cost immigrant youth jobs, opportunities for school, and driver’s licenses.
“These are people who paid the fees, applied on time, were approved for DACA, and now, because of an error, are at risk of losing their protection from deportation.
“But our message to those who received their three-year work authorizations is, Return them as soon as possible to avoid losing your DACA and falling out of immigration status.”
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:
“The actions taken to retrieve the three-year work authorization documents by USCIS are in direct response to Judge Hanen’s order in the case challenging DAPA and expanded DACA. While we do not agree with the extreme measures USCIS is taking to ensure the return of these documents, we encourage the small number of DACA recipients who received the three-year work permits after February 16, 2015, to answer any letters, calls, or visit by USCIS officials so as not to lose their DACA and work authorization.
“While immigrant communities might be confused and fearful of this, USCIS’s goal is only to retrieve the three-year work permit and replace it with a two-year permit in order fully to comply with Judge Hanen’s order.”
For more information, you can listen to today’s Spanish language media call with Cristina Jimenez, Marielena Hincapié and Oscar Chacon here.
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United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants.
You can find more about UWD online atwww.unitedwedream.org.
NILC is the primary legal advocacy organization in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. NILC focuses on key issues that affect low-income immigrants’ lives, including access to health care, economic support programs, and education; workers’ rights; and immigration reform and enforcement policies. To advance its mission, NILC uses multiple, integrated strategies: litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. And through trainings, publications, and providing legal counsel and advice, NILC also educates a wide range of audiences about legal and policy matters that affect immigrants.
You can find out more about NILC online at www.nilc.org.