URGENT: DACA RECIPIENTS WHO RECEIVED THREE-YEAR WORK PERMITS AFTER FEBRUARY 16, 2015, MUST RETURN THEM IMMEDIATELY

DACA recipients who received a letter or were contacted directly by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) regarding the recall of certain 3-year work permits, or Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”), must immediately return their 3-year work permit to their local USCIS office. 

The 3-year work permit recall only applies to DACA individuals who received a 3-year work permit after February 16, 2015.

As you may recall, in June of 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) which allowed certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to apply for deferred action—which is a temporary protection from deportations and work authorization for 2years.  The 2012 DACA program remains in effect. 

On November 20, 2014, DHS announced several changes to immigration policy via executive action, including  the Expanded DACA program—which would have expanded the eligibility requirements under DACA by removing the age restriction, expanding the residency requirements, and would have granted deferred action and work authorization for a period of 3 years instead of the 2-year period under DACA.  The 3-year work authorization period also applied to 2012 DACA renewals.

However, on February 16, 2015, a federal district court in Texas issued an order in Texas v. U.S. that temporarily blocked the November 20 deferred action programs and blocked USCIS from issuing DACA and work authorization for a 3-year period.

Immigrant workers should know that the court’s order does not affect DACA-mented folks who received 3-year work permits before February 16, 2015.  It also does not affect any other aspect of the 2012 DACA program.  Immigrant youth who are eligible for DACA can still apply and those with DACA should also apply for a renewal before their work permit expires.

However, DACA recipients who received a 3-year work permit after February 16, 2015, must return it to USCIS.  The two groups of persons who must return their 3-year work permits to USCIS are:

  1. Persons who received their 3-year work permits in the mail after February 16, 2015.
  2. Persons whose 3-year work permits were re-mailed after February 16, 2015, because the first mailing was undeliverable. 

USCIS has mailed one or more letters to persons in these two groups stating that they must mail back their 3-year work permits. USCIS has also called people and begun conducting home visits.  Persons who receive a letter or call from USCIS regarding their 3-year work permit should follow the instructions provided by USCIS or call the USCIS National Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283.  If USCIS has not received the erroneously issued 3-year work permit by July 31, 2015, they will terminate the person’s deferred action status and their work authorization.  USCIS has also stated that it could consider the refusal to return a work permit as a negative factor in a future deferred action request, or any other discretionary request.

For additional information, regarding returning 3-year work permits to USCIS, please visit the USCIS’s webpage at: http://www.uscis.gov/news/urgent-some-daca-recipients-who-received-three-year-work-permits-must-return-them-immediately 

By Alejandro Delgado | August 13, 2015

Legal Developments