DACA Update: Is USCIS Requiring Applicants to Return Their 3-year Work Permits?

DACA Update: Is USCIS Requiring Applicants to Return Their 3-year Work Permits?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, began with President Obama’s policy, created on June 15, 2012. The act is designed to allow non-criminal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and are currently studying or have finished high school an official employment authorization document.

This deferred action period was designed to last two years with an opportunity for renewal. Removal action for individuals who receive DACA is deferred through the use of prosecutorial discretion.

Recent updates have left many people who received work permit and approval notices wondering if they are legally required to return those documents.

Do I Have to Return My 3-Year Work Permit?

USCIS does require applicants who received 3-year employment authorization documents and 3-year approval notices for DACA to return them. This update applies to applicants who received the documents after February 16, 2015. The documents should have been retuned by July 17, 2015. This federal court order affects an estimated 2,100 immigrants.

This update follows an injunction issued by Federal Judge Andre Hanen in Texas v. United States. The injunction was issued in relation to a recent lawsuit filed by 26 states to stop the Obama administration’s executive action on immigration, calling it unconstitutional. These actions have delayed the President’s actions and left many questioning how much regarding immigration will be accomplished in the remaining days of his presidency.

According to their official website, USCIS is not currently accepting requests for expansion of DACA as was planned for February 18, 2015. However, this update does affect existing DACA and eligible persons may request DACA for the first time as well as renew DACA according to 2012 guidelines.

On April 8, 2015, Judge Hanen declined the Obama administration’s request to lift his initial ruling from February. He has previously said that the policy is not in accordance with federal law through the Administrative Procedure Act and many of the statements regarding implementation were misleading. His refusal has prevented the Obama administration for deferring the deportations of an estimated 4 million people currently residing in the U.S.

How Is USCIS Handling the Federal Court Order?

USCIS sent out a letter to affected applicants, stating that EADs and 3-year approval notices must be returned by the aforementioned date due to federal court order. It also states that deferred action proceedings and employment authorizations may be affected if invalid EADs are not returned (barring a valid cause). These approval notices (including Forms I-765 and Forms I-821D with period of longer than 2 years) must be returned.

Records for affected individuals have been updated to reflect this change. The records should now show a period of two years for deferred action and employment authorization. Any remaining 3-year work permits and approval notices are now invalid.

The administration has also began calling and visiting the residencies of recipients who have not yet returned the documents. The purpose of these home visits is to collect the 3-year work permits and replace them with 2-year ones. Affected individuals should expect USCIS employee to produce credentials upon visit.

How Can I Find More DACA Updates?

If you’re awaiting DACA news, keep up-to-date with the USCIS website and consult a licensed attorney. While many outlined initiatives are being discussed by officials, none are in full effect yet. Private legal representation can help you navigate the tricky waters of DACA and work towards a favorable outcome. To learn more about the latest with DACA and discuss a free consultation, contact Rodriguez-Nanny PA, an experienced immigration law firm in the Washington, D.C. area.