Reps. Roybal-Allard, Lujan Grisham, Gutiérrez Request Reset of DACA Renewal Deadline
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, joined with Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) and CHC Immigration Task Force Chair Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04) to send a letter to Acting Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Elaine Duke to call for an immediate meeting and extension of the DACA renewal deadline.
As the members wrote in the letter, “we are very concerned that because DACA recipients were not individually notified of their eligibility for renewal, tens of thousands of DACA recipients could lose their work authorization and DACA status protections.”
The members cited the fact that 50,000 DACA recipients, or nearly one-third of those eligible, have not submitted their renewal applications to DHS due to the tight timeframe and substantial fee. USCIS should reset the deadline to January 5, 2018 to provide these young people with the opportunity to renew their DACA applications. Just yesterday, USCIS recognized the need for flexibility for some DACA recipients by announcing it would consider DACA requests on a case-by-case basis from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, this concession only affects 20 recipients from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
This is the third request that CHC Members have made to reset the renewal deadline. The first request came from CHC Member Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) on September 19th, who requested an extension for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Then, on September 21st, Chairwoman Lujan Grisham, Congressman Gutiérrez, and Congresswoman Roybal-Allard asked the administration to exercise common sense and extend the DACA renewal deadline.
The full text of the letter is below, and is also here.
October 3, 2017
Elaine C. Duke
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Acting Secretary Duke,
We are writing to follow up on our September 21st letter to you concerning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s rapidly approaching October 5th renewal deadline that affects approximately 154,000 DACA recipients. As we mentioned in that letter, we are very concerned that because DACA recipients were not individually notified of their eligibility for renewal, tens of thousands of DACA recipients could lose their work authorization and DACA status protections.
This in fact appears to be the case: a recent DHS update indicates that as of September 27th, approximately 50,000 DACA recipients, or nearly one-third of those eligible, had not submitted their renewal applications to DHS. Based on this concerning information, we request an urgent meeting with you to discuss the October 5th deadline and again urge you to reset this deadline for January 5, 2018.
At a September 27th Senate hearing, you stated that no request for an extension had been made and no DACA applicants had expressed an issue with this deadline. Several letters to DHS from Members of Congress have called for an extension, and data from DHS demonstrate that as many as 50,000 young people eligible for renewal will likely have an issue with the October 5th deadline. Moreover, as you acknowledged at the September 27th Senate hearing, the $495 renewal fee may be an “issue” for those attempting to renew by October 5th.
Given these concerns and barriers for renewal, we would like to meet with you to discuss the best path forward to ensure that all of the 154,000 eligible DACA recipients will have time to submit their completed application and $495 fee so that they can continue to work, go to school and contribute to our nation’s economy as Congress works to pass a permanent legislative fix.
Additionally, we would like clarity on what DHS’s policy will be for DACA recipients as their status begins to expire. The Trump administration has stated that DACA recipients were not an enforcement priority before the termination of the program and will not become a priority now that the program is ending. However, there have been several cases of DACA recipients being detained and one DACA recipient, whose case is pending, was deported. Additionally, since the September 5th announcement, there have been several cases of DACA recipients being detained at border checkpoints while their DACA status was reviewed. DHS needs to provide guidance to ICE and CBP officials to ensure that DACA recipients are not targeted for detention and deportation, as the Trump administration has insisted is the case.
Given the urgency of this matter, we would appreciate a response from you by October 4th. Please contact CHC Executive Director if you have any questions.
Michelle Lujan Grisham, CHC Chairwoman
Luis V. Gutiérrez, CHC Immigration and Border Issues Task Force Chair
Lucille Roybal-Allard, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security