DACA begins releasing decisions, senators mobilize

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As undocumented students begin receiving the results of their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, or DACA, applications, some on the East Coast have been rejected because of a delivery error with the United States Postal Service.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency said their rejections were final, despite the USPS admitting fault for the mailing incident.

On Wednesday, 24 U.S. senators sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, urging them to reconsider the rejected DACA renewal requests that arrived after the deadline because of USPS processing delays.

“The lives DACA recipients have built here in the United States reflect the very best of America and the consequences of inaction are too great,” wrote the senators in the letter addressed to Acting Secretary of DHS Elaine Duke.

Campus senior and DACA recipient Salma Mayorquin said her application was processed extremely fast and approved, but she had applied well before the Oct. 5 deadline. Mayorquin added that she knew someone who had also applied, but is still waiting while their application is being processed.

According to Mayorquin, the application has two parts: one for deferred status and another for an employment permit. Both are filed at the same time along with a history of residence in the United States, criminal and background checks and a statement explaining why applicants are seeking employment.

“It’s just part of the administration’s xenophobic way of dealing with immigration, it’s really quite sad,” Mayorquin said, on other applicants’ rejected applications due to the USPS delay. “Even though it’s the fault of the USPS, they’re still holding DACA recipients and immigrants accountable — to an even higher standard than some people in the administration.”

Stephanie Beechem, a spokesperson for UCOP, said in an email the UC was continuing its efforts to support DACA students, including early outreach to notify students of deadlines for DACA renewals and grants to help cover costs for renewal.

The DACA program was created during the Obama administration in 2012 by Janet Napolitano, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and current UC president.

The program has allowed nearly 800,000 undocumented people to legally live, work and study in the United States — 4,000 of whom are undocumented students enrolled in the UC System. In UC Berkeley alone, 400 of the 500 undocumented students enrolled are covered by the DACA program.

Beechem said in an email, in addition to the UC’s lawsuit against against the Trump administration to halt the rescission of the DACA program, Napolitano joined a number of national security leaders Wednesday morning in a letter to Congress to pass a permanent solution to protect DACA recipient before the end of the year.

“Some of the 22,000 Dreamers who did not renew their status are already losing their work authorization and protection from deportation,” said the letter, signed by Napolitano. “The negative human consequences of the program’s termination are beginning to unfold now.”

Ani Vahradyan covers academics and administration. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anivahrad.