In early November, AILA received reports of DACA renewal applications wrongfully rejected by USCIS for arriving after the October 5, 2017 filing deadline. Articles in the New York Times and Vox confirmed a widespread problem and documented mail service delays by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that led to the rejection of a large number of DACA renewal applications. In addition, these articles highlighted cases in which the DACA renewal applications were received at the designated filing location by the required filing deadline, yet were rejected by USCIS.
USCIS has issued guidance regarding DACA renewal applications affected by USPS “mail service issues,” as well as for applications that were received at the designated filing location by the October 5 deadline, yet were rejected by USCIS. This USCIS guidance was recently supplemented with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on December 7, 2017.
To date, USCIS has issued the following guidance for DACA renewal applications which were rejected for the following reasons:
Rejection due to U.S. Postal Service Delays
In USCIS’ December 7, 2017 FAQ document, USCIS indicates that it is working with the USPS to identify DACA renewal applications that were delivered late due to USPS service delays. According to the guidance, USPS anticipates completing its assessment of the affected filings by the middle of December. USCIS will review USPS’ assessment and will send affected DACA applicants a letter inviting them to resubmit their DACA request. Applicants will have 33 days from the date of the letter to resubmit their renewal application. Resubmission packets should include all documents submitted with the original DACA renewal filing, including the filing fee, as well as the letter from USCIS inviting the applicant to resubmit the DACA application.
USCIS has indicated that as soon as USPS completes its assessment and USCIS sends DACA renewal applicants affected by USPS mail service delays a letter inviting them to resubmit their DACA request, USCIS will provide further guidance about how DACA renewal applicants can contact USPS and/or USCIS if a DACA renewal applicant believes that he or she was affected but did not receive a letter from USCIS inviting him or her to resubmit their DACA renewal application.
Rejection due to USCIS Mail Service Error
The December 7, 2017 FAQ document provides an update on USCIS guidance for DACA renewal applications that were timely received at the designated filing location on or before October 5, 2017, but were ultimately rejected for being late. According to the December 7, 2017 guidance, USCIS will identify all persons in this situation and will send them a letter inviting them to resubmit their DACA application. DACA applicants who receive a letter will have 33 days from the date of the letter to resubmit the application.
If a DACA requestor believes that their DACA renewal application was delivered by the filing deadline but have not been contacted by USCIS to resubmit their application, USCIS recommends contacting Lockbox Support at [email protected] with an explanation of the situation prior to resubmitting a package for reconsideration.
Note for AILA Members: If a substantive response is not received within five business days, AILA members may request AILA case liaison assistance by submitting an inquiry.
In its FAQ document, USCIS notes that if USCIS rejected a timely filed DACA renewal application because it was not properly filed, that is a valid reason for rejection and it will not be reconsidered. USCIS did note, however, that if stakeholders believe a filing was improperly rejected, i.e., it did include all required documents and information, and was properly signed and accompanied by the required fee or approved fee exemption, stakeholders may contact Lockbox Support at [email protected]. Stakeholders should be prepared to identify and provide a detailed description of the error that they believe was made. USCIS has indicated that it may exercise its discretion to review the DACA renewal application again in the event that a clear error by USCIS in the processing of the renewal request is identified.
Source: AILA Doc. No. 17111635.