Last November, the president announced improvements to DACA – including an extension of work permits from two years to three years – and then started issuing three-year work permits.
But on Feb. 16, a Texas judge ordered that Obama stop issuing three-year permits and switch back to the two-year permits until the pending court case clears.
But USCIS made a mistake – they kept issuing three-year work permits for a while after the judge’s ruling. Now, they’re requiring the people who got those mistaken three-year permits to exchange them for valid two-year permits. Most have already exchanged them, but there are still some folks who haven’t.
Most people don’t have to worry – the original rules for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from 2012 remain intact.
USCIS put the wrong expiration date on about 2,500 work permits and it is demanding they be returned by July 30 in exchange for a corrected one. If the beneficiaries don’t comply, USCIS is threatening to take away their DACA status entirely.
This only applies to some of the people who got “three-year” work permits. Most of the 665,000 DACA recipients are not affected by this.
Here is some useful information complied by United We Dream, the largest immigrant, youth-led nonpartisan organization in the nation, which advocates for the fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status:
To Whom Does This Apply?
You have gotten a letter or call from USCIS telling you to return a three-year work permit.
You got a three-year work permit after February 16, 2015 (no matter what the date on your work permit is).
The date on your three-year DACA work permit is after February 16, 2015 (no matter when you received your approval notice).
USCIS says that the deadline for returning your three-year DACA is July 30, 2015. You should get it in sooner than that to be safe.
Consequences Are Serious
USCIS says that you may lose your DACA status if you meet the criteria and don’t return your three-year work permit.
This means you could lose your job and accrue unlawful presence in the U.S., which could have an impact on any future immigration case.
What USCIS Has Already Done:
USCIS has already mailed up to three letters and made calls to people for whom this may apply, asking that they mail back their three-year EADs. Most people also received a new, valid two-year work permit in the mail already.
USCIS is serious about getting the mistaken three-year work permits back.
We have learned that staff from USCIS will begin visiting homes of these people to get them.
This is not the same as a visit by ICE; USCIS staff plan to visit homes only to obtain the mistaken three-year work permits. They will identify themselves and give you a receipt when you give them your three-year permit. They will not ask questions about anyone else in the home.
Confused? United We Dream has built a free, confidential and easy online tool to navigate this complicated situation. Visit http://unitedwedream.org/blog/uscis-alert/ to find out whether this applies to you.
For additional information, you can call the following number: USCIS Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283. You can send an email to report the facts to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: “DACA 3-Year EAD.”