While it is business as usual in Washington D.C., USCIS is getting ready to implement Phase 1 of the President’s second immigration initiative known popularly as “Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) which will make the following changes to the existing DACA program:
- Upper age limit removed
- Continuous residence date now January 10, 2010
- Issued for three years
In a listening session on January 13, 2015, USCIS advised that they had been instructed to begin accepting Expanded DACA cases within 90 days from the president’s announcement and indicated that the plan is to start accepting applications on or about 2/15/2015. USCIS could not give an exact date as they are continuing to work on the new form, which will have to be used for these applications, and stressed that Expanded DACA is not in effect yet.
USCIS’s main purpose for the call was to solicit ideas from the community for messaging about Expanded DACA and they specifically wanted to hear about the obstacles applicants find in requesting information about DACA or their eligibility and what challenges to service providers face in assisting DACA requesters. Although it was a listening session there was some useful information for applicants that came out of the questions asked by callers:
Q. Will I-765 economic necessity form still be required with Expanded DACA?
Q. When will three-year approvals start being issued?
A. Beginning 11/24/14, all DACA initial and renewal adjudications were given three-year approvals.
Q. How will USCIS handle someone who was approved for a DACA under the old guidelines but only got two-year DACA/EAD.
A. USCIS continuing to look at options to handle this; they have not come up with a policy decision yet.
Q. Do applicants need to show proof of presence on 11/20/14
A. No, applicants have to have been physically present in the U.S. since 6/15/2012.
Q. Will there be any change in the treatment of criminal convictions under Expanded DACA?
A. USCIS advised stakeholders to check the online FAQs on this issue but noted that the definition of significant misdemeanor is not substantially changing.
Q. Will there be any changes to Advance Parole (“AP”) in Expanded DACA?
A. USCIS advised stakeholders to check the online FAQs on this issue but noted that they are assessing whether they will change the current policy on AP for Expanded DACA.
Q. Are there consequences to revealing the use of a false Social Security Numbers?
A. USCIS advised stakeholders to check the online FAQs on this issue but noted that generally employers should not be concerned about this unless the employer is involved in egregious violations of criminal laws prohibiting the employment of undocumented workers. As far as the applicant is concerned, the fact that he or she used a false social security number is not a factor in determining their eligibility for DACA.
Q. What will impact of Expanded DACA on processing times be for initial applications and renewal requests?
A. Processing goals have not changed the processing goal for an initial DACA request is 6 months. and now it is 4 months. Applicants can now make inquiries for renewals pending over 105 days.
Q. What do we do if we do not get a receipt from the Lockbox?
A. Applicants can send emails to but only for non-delivery where there hasn’t been an address change; expect a response in 30 days. If a receipt notice not received because of an address change, then the applicant has to file a service request with NCSC to change the address.
Q. How do you deal with lost/missing EAD cards.
A. There are issues with theft and stolen mail. Once the card is received, if it is lost afterward then there is no need to file entire DACA request package, applicants only need to file new I-765.
Q. Will the fees be increased?
A. There are no plans to increase the fees at this time.
Q. Will USCIS use prosecutorial discretion under DACA for DUI convictions?
A. USCIS referred stakeholders to the FAQs on this issue
Q. Since the new physical presence requirement is 1/1/2010, must an applicant also show physical presence 11/20/2014 – the date of the President’s announcement?
A. This is not technically required but in practical terms the applicant must show continuous presence 1/1/2012 to the present which includes 11/20/2014.
Q. To be eligible for Expanded DACA, when must the lawful immigrant status have expired: 6/15/2012 or 11/20/2014.
A. The applicant’s lawful immigrant status must have expired prior to 6/15/2012. This has not changed. Always double check the DACA materials on the USCIS website for the correct information on these types of issues.
Q. Can approved DACA recipients apply for Adjustment of Status (Permanent Residence) simply by virtue of having DACA?
A. No. A grant of DACA does not provide any lawful status from which to adjust to Permanent Resident..
Q. Why can’t employment authorizations under DACA be extended automatically?
A. Deferred action is not lawful immigration status, it’s a decision to not put an individual into removal proceedings and an EAD is available for people who have been granted that benefit. When that deferred action expires, then a decision on the renewal must be made before a decision on the EAD renewal can be made. Remember to file the renewal timely and that you can now make an inquiry at 105 days.