Washington, DC November 13, 2017 – In the New York Times, the Liz Robbins story, “Post Office Fails to Deliver on Time, and DACA Applications Get Rejected”
highlights how some of the 22,000 DACA recipients who missed the artificial October 5th re-application deadline and are now losing protections were victims of the government’s own ineptitude, via mail processing delays. As the story highlights, DHS is still treating these DACA renewal applications as invalid:
According to lawyers from across the New York region, in at least 33 other cases, unusually long Postal Service delays resulted in rejections of DACA applications, throwing the lives of their clients into frantic limbo…
…in Chicago, in the backyard of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, there were at least 41 DACA recipients whose renewals, sent well before the deadline, arrived late, advocates said. According to Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois, an applicant sent a renewal on Sept. 13 and it arrived on Oct. 6. Another sent the paperwork on Sept. 21, and it was received on Oct. 9. “Because somebody else did not do their job correctly we are taking innocent young immigrants and making them deportable,” said Mr. Gutiérrez in a statement. “That is unacceptable.”
On Thursday, in a rare admission from a federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service took the blame. David A. Partenheimer, a spokesman for the post office, said there had been an “unintentional temporary mail processing delay in the Chicago area. But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency said nothing more could be done; the decisions were final.”
The March 5 deadline really is artificial — it doesn’t actually mark the date when immigrants will start losing their DACA protections. That is, as far as anyone can tell, already happening. And it’s only going to accelerate over the next several months. By March 5, 22,000 immigrants will have lost DACA protections because their applications for one last renewal weren’t received at government offices by October 5, a deadline that the Trump administration set only a month in advance, and didn’t notify immigrants about
…It would be one thing if members of Congress took the position that they didn’t need to find a DACA fix before March 5 because anyone who lost protections before then had only themselves to blame. They could say that DHS set a deadline, and people who didn’t meet the deadline don’t deserve as much sympathy as the people whose DACA will expire after March 5 who never had a chance to renew. The mail snafu blows away that argument. It makes it clear that at least some DACA applicants who thought they were renewing in time and following the rules are being left out in the cold.
…It was inevitable that immigrants would fall through the cracks. We now know they have, for reasons outside their control. Congress’s desire to carefully deliberate a solution for DACA recipients makes sense — but they ought to at least be aware that their deliberate pace has consequences for some of the very people they’re trying to protect.
The pieces in the New York Times
and Vox underscore the findings in a new Center for American Progress column, “Thousands of DACA Recipients Are Already Losing Their Protection From Deportation
.” The report finds that 122 Dreamers every day are losing DACA protection between October 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. As CAP notes
, “the reality is that with every passing day, DACA recipients lose their protections and become vulnerable to a regime of enforcement overdrive.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “The so-called March deadline set by Trump is, quite simply, a false one. It’s an excuse for inaction. Dreamers are losing their work permits and their shot at the American Dream now. We need Congress to take action before they go home for the holidays, not at some vague and undefined point in the future. If the Dream Act is not included in the government spending package scheduled to be approved in December, and with immigration enforcement funds an inevitable part of that package, members of Congress will be casting a vote to fund the deportation of Dreamers. Such a vote will never be forgotten. Democrats are ready to vote on a clean Dream Act today. It’s up to Republicans to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.”