The local USCIS San Diego District Director Paul Pierre provided an update to potential applicants and immigration attorneys at a recent stakeholders forum about the impending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals known as DACA. USCIS expects this program to be implemented on August 15th. This program will grant certain young immigrants lawful status and work authorization. The Director provided some insight on what is “likely” to happen, but it will still be several weeks before anything will become finalized. Here are some of their expectations:
- They anticipate 1,400,000 applicants.
- Applications will likely be processed at the Service Centers and then forwarded to District Offices for interviews if needed, such as when there are criminal issues.
- They are currently hiring an additional 400 people at the Service Centers in anticipation of applications to be filed.
- There will be a Biometrics fee charged ($85).
- The form to apply for deferred action is likely to be an I-821D, and they anticipate there will not be a filing fee charged for deferred action at least initially. They will probably do a fee impact study and charge in the future.
- If the applicant wants employment authorization then she will need to also file the I-765 for the EAD card and pay the corresponding fee.
- If the I-821D is approved, then the I-765 will be adjudicated afterwards. The EAD card will be granted for a period of 2 years from the date of approval of I-765.
- Applications will probably be filed at a lockbox.
- Receipt Notices will take 60-90 days because of the initial onslaught of cases.
- Applicants will receive Biometrics appointment notices 30 to 60 days following the issuance of the Receipt Notice.
- They are expecting to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) in many of the deferred action cases. We recommend consulting an immigration lawyer and ensuring you enclose all of the necessary proof the first time to avoid an RFE.
- No appeal rights anticipated.
- They are not sure whether deferred action applicants will be able to travel.
- They are not sure what will happen at the end of the two year period to DACA applicants.
- Applicants must show continuous physical presence (in the aggregate) for 5 years, but temporary breaks are probably okay.
Thanks to Paul Pierre for this valuable insight. We look forward to seeing the final implementing regulations so that DACA applicants know what to expect. For more information about the DACA program, please contact an immigration lawyer at our law firm.