When President Obama first announced DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in 2012, applicants were able to apply for work permits that were valid for two years.
In November 2014, President Obama expanded DACA and made it a three-year program as well as expanding the number of people who would be eligible to apply for DACA. Shortly after that, Texas and twenty five other states sued the government to stop the expansion of DACA. On February 16, 2015, the judge ordered a temporary injunction stopping the expansion of DACA.
The judge’s order does not end DACA, however, it does stop USCIS from issuing three-year work permits (called an EAD or employment authorization document). People who are eligible for DACA under the 2012 guidelines can apply for DACA and can apply to renew the grant of DACA. They will receive DACA grants and work permits for two-year periods.
I have DACA for three years and I received a letter saying that I have to return my work permit (EAD) to USCIS
Why am I getting this letter?
On February 16, 2015, the judge ordered a temporary injunction stopping the expansion of DACA and ordering USCIS to stop issuing three-year work permits. About 2500 three-year work permits were issued or were mailed to DACA recipients after February 16, 2015.
The judge has ordered the government to get the three-year work permits back. USCIS is taking extreme measures to ensure that the government gets all three-year DACA work permits back.
USCIS has written every applicant who received a three-year work permit after February 16, 2015 demanding the return of the work permit two times already. Last week, USCIS also began calling the DACA recipients.
This does not apply to you if your work permit was issued before February 16, 2015.
What happens if I do not respond?
If you do not return your three-year work permit by July 27, 2015, USCIS will escalate its response. USCIS plans to have plain-clothed agents visit individual homes to retrieve the three-year work permits. Also, your grant of DACA will be terminated.
If you want to keep your DACA status, it is essential that you return your three-year work permit by July 27, 2015.
What should I do?
You should go to your local USCIS field office to return your three-year work permit. In Connecticut, the field office is at 450 Main St., first floor, Hartford, Connecticut 06103. If you live in another state, you can find your closest field office at http://www.uscis.gov. The homepage has a link to a field office locator tool.
What if I have a three-year work permit and I did not receive a letter?
If you received a three-year work permit before February 16, 2016, you do not need to return your work permit. An EAD issued before February 16, 2016 will be valid for three years.
If your EAD was issued after February 16, 2016, you should schedule an InfoPass appointment with your local USCIS office before July 27, 2015.
If I turn in my three-year work permit, will I get a new, two-year work permit?
USCIS should issue replacement work permits, but they have not announced the mechanism to ensure that people will get replacement work permits.
Should I see an immigration attorney?
This is a very unusual situation with a very short deadline, so if you think it impacts you, you should schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney. There are also legitimate pro bono organizations like Catholic Charities who you can meet with if money is an issue.