Some Dreamers were denied their last renewal of deportation protection when applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) that arrived by the deadline were declared late nevertheless. A lawsuit against the Trump administration, filed Tuesday in New York, seeks to remedy the situation.
In interviews with the plaintiffs and with other immigration lawyers, Vox has confirmed at least 19 cases, at two of the three mailboxes that USCIS used to accept DACA applications, where applications were placed in the mailbox in the late afternoon or evening of October 5 but marked as “received” on October 6.
Plaintiffs have also alleged that the administration denied applications for arbitrary reasons, with one woman claiming hers was rejected because a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employee misread the date on her check
The claims in the lawsuit, and those made by the other lawyers Vox has talked to, raise concerns that USCIS is being stricter than usual with DACA renewals — and perhaps arbitrarily denying them. It definitely makes it clear that many DACA recipients, who President Donald Trump has claimed would be safe until March 5, are going to lose their protections from deportation and work permits before that, despite doing everything the government asked them to.
The lawsuit takes particular issue with the language used to instruct immigrants on how to comply with the deadline, particularly since many applications land in a 'drop box' after they're mailed and require pickup by a government official:
In most cases, the complicated process isn’t a problem because the application is considered on time as long as it’s postmarked by the deadline. The Trump administration decided that DACA renewals would have to be received by the deadline — and put out several statements to that effect.
This latest news follows a report in the New York Times last week that a mysterious slowdown in USPS mail delivery interfered with at least 74 DACA applications in the New York City and Chicago areas - and raises concerns that the problem is much wider in scope than initially realized.