In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has clarified its process for handling Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal requests. According to USCIS’s website, its offices will remain closed until at least May 3.
If you are a DACA holder, here is what you should know:
1. “Wet signatures” (your non-photocopied signature, which you wrote with a pen) are temporarily not required on renewal applications. A person requesting DACA renewal may work with their attorney electronically (for example, using email and video or telephone conferencing) to complete their application, which can then be sent to USCIS by mail, since neither the applicant’s nor the attorney’s signature has to be “wet”; rather, it can be a copy of a signature on a form that was scanned, then emailed or faxed.
2. Request for Evidence (RFE) and Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) deadlines have been extended.
3. USCIS may now use previously done biometrics to process work permit (employment authorization) renewal requests.
We expect this closure may affect processing times. If you decide to apply now, we encourage you to send your application via certified mail to have proof of postmark date and confirmation of when your application arrived to a USCIS lockbox.
Nobody knows what will happen with DACA in the next few weeks and months. We are still expecting a Supreme Court decision on the DACA cases by the end of the June 2020, but we don’t know when or how the Court will rule. The COVID-19 pandemic creates an additional layer of fear and uncertainty. Tens of thousands DACA recipients are on the frontlines responding to COVID-19, according to a new Center for Migration Studies report, and they’re unsure if they’ll be able to keep their jobs in a range of fields, including health care, transportation, warehousing, retail, pharmacies, and waste management, if the Court’s ruling leads to the end of DACA.
In the meantime, DACA recipients should know that TRUMP and his administration are doing everything in their power to Cancel DACA. As stated above, the Supreme Court is expected to give its decision at the latest, by the end of June 2020. If they allow it, DACA could be cancelled very quickly.
If you are a DACA recipient, you should not waste any time and renew your DACA now to guarantee another 2 years, even if it is cancelled.