24-year old, who asked to be identified only as “Jose” for legal reasons, was just one of the multiple cases of “Dreamers” who sent their applications via USPS mail long before the due date and the applications still somehow managed to arrive late.
Allison Baker, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, sent the client’s application to renew the permit that would allow him to stay and work in the U.S. as part of the DACA program on September 14th. Although the deadline for the application was October 5th, she made sure to send it via certified mail just to be safe. The tracking data provided by the United States Postal Service showed the application arrived in Chicago on September 16th but did not arrive at the regional processing warehouse of the United States Citizenship and Immigration services until October 6th. The tracking data listed the status of the sent application between the 17th and 19th of September as “in transit to destination”, and then could not be tracked until the 4th, where it was then listed again as “on its way. The application finally arrived to its destination on the 6th— one day too late. The renewal application, having arrived past its due date, was rejected.
According to several lawyers in the New York region, there were at least 33 other cases, with unusually long Postal Service delivery delays, resulting in the rejections of DACA applications. Also in Chicago, grounds of the U.S.C.I.S. agency, there were at least 41 DACA recipients whose renewals were sent well before their deadline but also arrived late, advocates said. Other lawyers in Boston and Philadelphia, that also sent applications to the Chicago processing center, claimed they didn’t have any issues with the mail. Other lawyers in Boston and Philadelphia, that also sent applications to the Chicago processing center, claimed they didn’t have any issues with the mail.
Although David A. Partenheimer, a spokesman for the post office, took the blame for the delays claiming that there had been an “unintentional temporary mail processing delay in the Chicago area,” U.S.C.I.S. agency finalized their decisions, claiming nothing could be done. DACA an executive order, signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, offered temporary protection and work permits for about 800,000 young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Since DACA isn’t an official government issued rule or regulation, the application decisions are final with no right to appeal.
Steve Blando, a spokesman for the agency, wrote in a statement: “According to U.S.C.I.S. regulations, a request is considered received by U.S.C.I.S. as of the actual date of receipt at the location for filing such request,” he proceeded, “U.S.C.I.S. is not responsible for the mail service an individual chooses, or for delays on the part of mail service providers.” He then added, “U.S.C.I.S. is committed to working with the U.S.P.S. to understand and address the U.S.P.S. error that occurred that delayed the mail. Mr. Partenheimer, the post office spokesman, said the delay “issue has been resolved and we are investigating how it occurred.” He then added that the mail service will “work diligently” with the U.S.C.I.S. agency “concerning any potential issues this may cause for the affected individuals.”