Fear of sharing personal information with immigration authorities makes it doubtful to a large number of undocumented youth covered under the Deferred Action (DACA) on the advisability of renewing this permit within hours of the deadline for doing so.
“The truth is, I’m afraid that just as President Donald Trump decided to end the DACA program, the extension of work permits will not be respected especially if Congress does not pass legislation in the coming months,” he told Efe Rocío, a 23-year-old girl who identified herself and decided not to renew DACA.
Today is the deadline to send the DACA renewal application to the Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS), which must be sent by mail, paying the service “one day to the other” to be delivered Thursday, otherwise it will not be processed.
Some organizations that advise young “dreamers”, as DACA beneficiaries are known, are recommended that the dossier also be sent by registered mail so they will have proof that the form was sent on time.
But young people like Dew are almost certain they will not. And he knows very well the consequences of not renewing DACA: He will return to “the shadows” and his name will be added again to the list of the thousands of undocumented people who live in the United States and that are in the sights of the present administration, that has tightened its immigration policy.
James McCament, Acting Director of USCIS, said Tuesday that the information of DACA renewal applicants will not be shared with law enforcement agencies, including the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Border Patrol (CBP).
Even so, she is not convinced of the promise of McCament since, in her opinion, the Administration has shown that the reality of immigrant communities is very different from what is said in Washington.
Specifically, her biggest fear is that one day ICE agents knock on her door and arrest her with her parents, who also have no legal status in the country.
According to figures from the Department of Homeland Security (DSH), as of Tuesday, about 106,000 of the 154,000 immigrants eligible to renew their DACA permit had submitted their application, of which about 58,000 sent them before September 5, when the DA general, Jeff Sessions, announced the end of this federal program.
In the announcement of the term of DACA, which since 2012 granted immigration relief and has protected about 800,000 undocumented youths from deportation, the federal government announced that those whose permits expire before March 5, 2018 can renew them for another two years.
According to the most recent DHS figures, some 48,000 young people have not yet submitted their renewal for this federal program, implemented by former President Barack Obama and which protects undocumented youth who have come to the country as children.
“There are many factors that are intervening so that some young people are not renewing their DACA,” Efe Karina Ruiz, director of the Sleep Act Coalition (ADAC) in Arizona, told Efe.
Like dozens of organizations across the country, since the elimination of the DACA was announced, this organization has worked hard in Arizona to help the largest number of beneficiaries of this program.
Ruiz admitted that the number that young people who came to their offices was not as large as they expected.
“When we announced the scholarships to help them pay for the application, it was when we saw the number increase a bit,” he said.
The economic – the process costs $ 495 – is another factor that has prevented some “dreamers” with the possibility of renewing not being able to send their application.
“If the Federal Government wants to find us it can do it through our Social Security number, so we are asking everyone to take this opportunity. It is better to have protection, however small, to have nothing,” he said. the activist.
Ruiz acknowledges however that “fear” is one of the most powerful factors that keep undocumented young people dubious.
Rocío, for the time being, knows he has until today to change his mind, but says that it is “unlikely” to do so.