PORTLAND, Ore. – Some “dreamers” had their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program renewals rejected because of a U.S. Postal Service delay, and lawmakers urged the Department of Homeland Security to accept the applications.
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined several other senators in calling on the department to accept renewals that arrived after the October 5 deadline because of a mail holdup, and to notify anyone whose application was affected.
They sent a letter to the department after reports of the rejected applications broke from other news outlets.
President Trump’s administration announced back in September that it would end the program, which allows people who were brought to the U.S. as children under the age of 16 to go to work and school without the threat of deportation.
Below is a copy of the letter:
Dear Acting Secretary Duke,
We write to express concern about reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has rejected renewal requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that were received after the application deadline due to U.S. Postal Service processing delays. We urge you to allow individuals whose DACA renewal applications were rejected because they were received after the October 5, 2017, deadline to resubmit their applications and to notify such applicants of this opportunity.
As you know, on September 5, 2017, the Administration terminated the DACA program, leaving less than a month for certain recipients to file for renewal. We have heard from many young people across the country about the tremendous burden this short time frame placed on them to collect the application fee and navigate the application process.
We are deeply troubled that despite the best efforts of many DACA recipients to submit their applications to DHS before October 5, the Department has rejected thousands of DACA renewal applications that arrived after the deadline. Although the Postal Service has acknowledged that a mail processing delay affected some unknown number of DACA renewal applications, the Department still refuses to accept those applications. We encourage you to weigh the life-changing consequences many will face in the absence of action by the Department.
In the five years since implementation, DACA has empowered approximately 800,000 individuals to come out of the shadows to pursue opportunities such as obtaining access to higher education and necessary skill sets, finding work, and serving in the military. As a result of the Administration’s abrupt decision to terminate DACA, many young people are now left with deep uncertainty about whether they will be able to stay in school, keep working and contributing to our economy, or remain in their communities.
We believe that this situation merits immediate action by the Department and urge you to reverse your decision to reject renewal requests for DACA that were received after the deadline due to mail delays. The lives DACA recipients have built here in the United States reflect the very best of America and the consequences of inaction are too great. This sensible approach will ensure that these young people who are American in every way won’t have to live in fear and can continue to contribute to the only nation they call home.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.