DACA processing delays are a real problem for young immigrants. In spite of following all the rules to obtain or renew Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and paying the fee ($465), many are not being serviced sufficiently by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The consequences of the delays are disastrous. Some DACA-DREAMers lost their jobs and health insurance since they fell out of status when their Employment Authorization Card expired.
What are the reasons for these damaging delays? Advocates with the National Immigration Law Center said in a web conference last week that delays are due to technical problems. USCIS’ processing goal is 120 days, but (according to them) a small percentage of cases are taking longer to process, especially those being processed in the Nebraska office.
Most of the delayed cases were filed between February 14 and June 22, 2016.
Young immigrants may be experiencing delays in several stages of the process:
Delays in getting a biometrics notice.
Delays in getting the DACA approval after the biometrics appointment.
Delays in getting the Employment Authorization document in the mail after the approval.
National Immigration Law Center has documented 260 delay complaints, but the real number of people affected is unknown.
If you are affected by DACA processing delays, what can you do regarding your employment? Some young workers have been placed on leave of absence without pay instead of being terminated. If your EAD has expired, you should talk with your employer about options and suggest being placed on leave of absence.
Advocates have heard of cases where employers are willing to allow the DACA recipient to continue with their work by showing evidence that their DACA approval has been posted online before the EAD arrives. However, employers are not required to take any of these actions.
Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund will keep you updated on these and other developments.