Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications submitted by “Dreamers,” based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act, were rejected by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services due to mail problems in the weeks approaching the deadline.
After the Trump administration had announced its plans to end the DACA program in September, they also said that recipients whose permits would expire before March 5, 2018 could renew their application for another two years.
The deadline was Oct. 5 and many applications — even ones mailed out weeks in advance — did not arrive until the day after because of an unplanned processing delay in Chicago.
The New York Times had reported on Nov. 30 that the number of applications rejected due to mail issues had reached 900, though it could possibly be in the thousands.
David Partenheimer of the United States Postal Service says that they are working with USCIS in order to address this issue.
“This mail processing delay issue has been resolved and we are investigating how it occurred,” Partenheimer wrote in an email. “Nothing is more important to the Postal Service than the timely, secure delivery of the mail.”
USPS had initially taken responsibility for the numerous applications being delayed. The immigration agency had said that there was nothing to be done and decisions were final.
Days later, USCIS rescinded their statement and announced that they would reconsider renewal applications by sending letters out to applicants and having them show evidence or proof that their application had arrived late due to mail delay.
According to a page on the U.S. Citizen and Immigration office’s website regarding rejected DACA requests, applicants have 33 days following the date of the letter to resubmit.
Margaret Stock is an attorney at Cascadia Cross Border Law Group and she says that these delays with the postal service have been a “chronic problem.”
Applicants are free to choose a carrier other than USPS, such as FedEx or DHL, but Stock has found the U.S. Postal Service to be typically slower than the others and that it has become less reliable over the years.
“That’s been a change since I started practicing law because we used to send everything through the [postal service] because they would guarantee delivery the next day,” Stock said.
USCIS said that renewals had to be received on or before the Oct. 5 deadline, meaning that the applicants had to depend on their carrier of choice to deliver on time.
Stock says that the agency should have gone by the postmarked date instead.
“If postal delivery is delayed or slowed, then the person pays the price. It’s not their fault,” Stock said.