DACA Stakeholder Meeting Updates Nov 19, 2012

We promised our readers with an update on the November DACA Stakeholder meeting and here it is! USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed the updated statistics for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) had been released last week. USCIS began issuing DACA referrals (approvals) on September 12th. More than 50,000 applications have been completed for review to date. More details can be found on our previous blog on the DACA stats here.

As part of ongoing efforts in raising awareness of the requirements for DACA, USCIS has also duplicated the FAQ pages in three other languages, Korean, Portuguese and Tagalog, in addition to Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. The remainder of the Stakeholder meeting involved answering questions from stakeholders. Some of the highlights include the following questions:

1. May DACA candidates currently working on getting their GEDs after June 15, 2012 apply for DACA?

  • Yes.

2. Where state law enforcement has categorized the offense of driving without a license as a misdemeanor (instead of an infraction), and a potential DACA candidate has multiple convictions of this offense, would this preclude qualification under DACA?

  • Generally, USCIS will not consider traffic offenses as a misdemeanor. In instances where there are multiple infractions, USCIS will review it on a case-by-case basis by looking at the totality of circumstances to see if the individual poses a threat to public safety.

3. Why is it that some cases are being processed for biometrics faster than others? (As observed by one stakeholder.)

  • The standard process is first-in-first-out (FIFO). However, some Application Support Centers (ASC) that process biometrics may be experiencing a high volume of cases so it may be backlogged, thereby creating a delay. This may explain some delays between ASCs.

4. What are the current processing times for DACA cases?

  • The goal is 4-6 months processing time (from beginning to end) excluding time periods to process Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).

5. May DACA candidates who are currently not yet 15 years of age apply for DACA after they turn 15, if they can demonstrate they qualify under all other DACA criteria?

  • Yes, they can age into the DACA process.

6. Can USCIS clarify the rejection versus denial of DACA applications?

  • USCIS had provided a tip sheet for candidates to avoid having their applications rejected at the lockbox. Applications that have been rejected by USCIS at the lock box are rejected due to a variety of reasons.
    • Incomplete applications
    • Failure to sign the applications
    • Failure to submit the required government filing fee
    • Rejection as insufficient for processing
  • Denials, on the other hand, are applications that have been accepted by USCIS for adjudication and review at the lockbox but have not been granted deferred action.

7. Can USCIS provide more details about DACA case denial statistics and reasons for denials?

  • At this time, USCIS does not have the empirical data to report on denials or referrals to ICE
  • The greatest trends on denials have been the insufficiency of documents that fail to demonstrate continuous presence in the U.S.

8. May DACA candidates who have applied but were previously denied re-apply by submitting a new fee and new documentation?

  • Assuming the candidate can overcome the original denial with additional, new documentary evidence, then yes, they may re-apply.

9. How is a misrepresentation regarding one’s legal status in the U.S. viewed by USCIS? (An example would be where an individual stated to an immigration officer he/she was a U.S. citizen when they were not.)

  • USCIS would review these on a case-by-case, fact specific basis.

10. Can a DACA candidate qualify for DACA if he/she has been previously removed from the U.S.?

  • Possibly, if the other criteria have been met.

11. USCIS has stated that a driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) conviction is a disqualifier for DACA. However, how will USCIS review a candidate’s record if the conviction had been expunged and there is a long history of having a clean record since the conviction?

  • USCIS will review a conviction that is expunged or set aside on a case-by-case basis.

12. Can a candidate who has received a grant of deferred action and was issued an employment authorization document (EAD) replace his/her stolen or lost EAD without having to pay the $465 filing fee?

  • Please see instructions under the Form I-90 process or emailpublic.engagement@uscis.dhs.gov for more instructions.  [Update 11/20/2012: Our readers were quick to point out that the Form I-90 does not (currently) address replacement for lost EAD cards.  The fact that USCIS mentioned this process and urged Stakeholders to email instead indicates that it is still in the process of crafting a means to replace a DACA issued EAD card.  Time will tell and we’ll bring you updates as they develop.]

13. How will USCIS view criminal convictions and significant misdemeanors that have arisen out of the same event/occurrence?

  • Misdemeanors arising from the same event/occurrence will be treated as one offense.

14. Will candidates who have been granted deferred action and received their EADs be allowed to travel outside the U.S.?

  • Permission to travel outside the U.S. is separate process. Please refer to the FAQs for more details.

15. How can candidates provide sufficient evidence if their juvenile convictions have been judicially sealed?

  • Candidates should provide a complete rendition of their history to USCIS in their applications in addition to documentation showing that a request for the sealed record has been denied or is currently pending with a court.

16. How can an individual who is currently detained in a detention center apply for DACA relief?

  • An individual who is in detention must work with the public advocate of ICE either by calling the hotline (888) 351-4024 or emailing eropublicadvocate@ice.dhs.gov.

17. What guidance can USCIS provide for potential DACA candidates who entered, left the country, and then re-entered the country, all before June 15, 2007?

  • USCIS will look into providing more clarity on this issue at later time.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, please share it with friends on social media! Also, subscribe to the Case Management Guru Blog by LawLogix for more updates on DACA.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog post is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. The updates may be revised without advance notice to readers. If you have questions regarding properly applying for DACA or other immigration concerns, please consult a qualified immigration attorney.