by Elizabeth Elizalde
If you have DACA status and the government calls or comes knocking at your door during the next few weeks, be polite, cooperate and try not to feel scared.
Government workers want to collect the three-year work permit or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that they issued to you by mistake and swap it for a two-year work permit.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) workers began to visit the homes of 2,100 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) youths on July 16, 2015, to collect the cards. If you have a three-year card, they want it back by July 31, 2015.
While immigrant rights groups across the country urge you cooperate, they say USCIS made a bad judgment call when it decided to take back the permits.
Important to note: If you’re one of the 108,000 people who received the three-year work permit as part of President Obama’s executive order to expand immigrant rights before February 16, 2015, you can continue without fear. This doesn’t affect you.
A USCIS spokesperson told ConsumerMojo the agency notified DACA recipients in May about its plan to retrieve the work permits by the end of July. It decided to retrieve them physically after letters requesting the return of the three-year permits failed to get results.
Immigration groups all across the country disagree with the visits and the way USCIS plans to deal with the problem. The program was created in February 2015, when Federal Judge Andrew Hanen halted President Obama’s executive order on immigration.
After the order, USCIS made an error and mailed the three-year permits to at least 2,100 young people.
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of National Immigration Law Center, said, “We encourage the small number of DACA recipients who received the three-year work permits after February 16, 2015, to answer any letters, calls, or visit by USCIS officials.”
But Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, based in Washington D.C., worried that some may find themselves at risk.
“It’s alarming that a mistake by USCIS could cost hundreds of immigrant youth their DACA and their work permits. The administration’s mistake could cost immigrant youth jobs, opportunities for school, and drivers licenses,” she said.
The spokesperson for USCIS didn’t acknowledge that the agency made a mistake but emphasized that the deadline at the end of July is mandatory, or people won’t have the right documentation.
“It doesn’t change their authorization or their ability to work whatsoever,” the USCIS spokesperson said. “But they will have to renew their authorization at the end of the two-year mark.”
Save yourself a hassle and return the EADs as soon as possible for your legal protection.