Why DACA recipients’ work permit renewals are being delayed

Local News

***Correction: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is still accepting DACA applications, they haven’t stopped accepting them. DACA recipients should visit the USCIS website to see if they have an extension on their work permit, every case various.***

Work permits for DACA recipients are taking longer to get approved right now, which is raising concerns for “Dreamers” in the Quad Cities.

Undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as kids are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, DACA started during the Obama Administration.

The pandemic has had an effect on businesses, including people who currently have a work permit here in the U.S.

Due to low staffing, it’s taking longer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process applications for work permit.

“It was, like, nail-biting to know if I was going to receive it or not,” one Dreamer from Moline said when he wasn’t getting his work permit renewal under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“I thought it was just going to be, you know, you already have your work permit you just pay the amount. But I guess you have to give more proof that you’re still living here, that you’re still working,” said “Daniel.”

Immigration Attorney Dolores Tapia says before the pandemic it would take about three months to get renewals, but now it’s taking about six months for Dreamers to receive their work permits.

“With DACA it is crucial that the Dreamers get their work permit on time, because many times the employers want the proof of the work permit,” said Tapia.

We reached out to U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services to learn why the delay has become an issue and the statement sent to us reads:

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors – including an increase in applications and petitions – USCIS is experiencing delays for some applications and petitions filed, with processing times affected by several variables including demand and capacity. USCIS is actively determining appropriate methods to minimize delays while prioritizing the health and safety of the agency’s workforce. Despite the challenges of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS’s Historical Data shows the median processing time for DACA renewals through March 31 of FY2021 is 1.7 months.

As noted in the DACA Frequently Asked Questions webpage, USCIS’ current goal is to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. Requestors may submit an inquiry about the status of their renewal request after it has been pending more than 105 days by submitting an inquiry online at egov.uscis.gov/e-request. However, there may be factors that may affect the timely processing of a requestor’s DACA renewal request that could include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to appear at an Application Support Center (ASC) for a scheduled biometrics appointment to obtain fingerprints and photographs. No-shows or rescheduling appointments will require additional processing time.
  • Issues of national security, criminality or public safety discovered during the background check process that require further vetting.
  • Issues of travel abroad that need additional evidence/clarification.
  • Name/date of birth discrepancies that may require additional evidence/clarification.
  • The renewal submission was incomplete or contained evidence that suggests a requestor may not satisfy the DACA renewal guidelines and USCIS must send a request for additional evidence or explanation

We recommend DACA requestors complete a Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance to receive an e-notification when we accept their form; and we recommend that requestors create a free USCIS online account to check the status of their case anywhere, anytime, using our case status online tool. It gives them the same information as they would get from speaking to a USCIS Contact Center representative, and it is available immediately, any time of day. People use an online account to ask questions about their case, including if their case is outside normal processing times, or they did not receive a card or notice in the mail, or their card or document has a mistake.  

Information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, forms, and filing instructions may be found at www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-of-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrivals-daca. Our Frequently Asked Questions page has extensive information about DACA and the adjudication process.”

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