The Department of Homeland Security has not received the renewal paperwork of roughly 36,000 DACA recipients by its Oct. 5 deadline, a government spokesperson told TPM Thursday, meaning thousands of undocumented young people could face deportation after handing over reams of information to government.
An additional 535,600 DACA recipients weren’t eligible to renew their DACA status at all.
President Donald Trump eliminated the DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, on Sept. 5. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the program’s elimination. Trump has since called on Congress to “legalize” DACA, which provides protection from deportation, work permits and other benefits to undocumented young people who meet certain criteria.
Around 700,000 people benefit from the program, according to September data from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Thursday was the deadline for the Department of Homeland Security to have received renewal applications for DACA recipients with permits expiring between Sept. 5 and March 5. Those with permits expiring after March 5 were not given an opportunity to renew them after Trump eliminated the program.
Aside from public announcements, the Trump administration made no effort to reach out to eligible DACA recipients to encourage them to renew their permits in time to meet the October deadline, Vox reported.
In a statement provided to TPM Thursday, a public affairs officer for USCIS said “Of the approximately 154,000 individuals whose DACA is set to expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, approximately 118,000 either have renewal requests currently pending with USCIS, or have already had USCIS adjudicate their renewal request.”
Despite activists’ pleas and the urging of a federal judge, Sessions has not budged on the Oct. 5 deadline, condemning thousands of DACA recipients to potential deportation when their permits expire.
Though many in Congress have voiced support and even enthusiasm over dealmaking efforts to allow DACA recipients to stay in the country legally, little legislative progress has actually been made.
Despite surface-level expressions of support for DACA recipients by the President, Trump’s DHS told DACA recipients in a memo on Sept. 6 “to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States.”
In order to apply for DACA, young undocumented people formally admitted to immigration violations and turned over sensitive identifying information to DHS. At the time of their application, the government pledged not to use the information in order to target applicants for deportation.
On Sept. 5, DHS said that while DACA recipients’ information would not be “proactively” given to immigration enforcement officials, it would be handed over if a valid request is made for the data by immigration agents.