DACA Applications in Severe Backlog
Thousands looking to renew their DACA status in order to remain in the U.S., their home, have had their cases caught in a fierce backlog of 55,000 first-time DACA recipient applications. Of these 55,000 applications, 13,000 cases having been pending for more than 4 months (past the USCIS adjudication goal). From March 2021 to June first-time DACA applications have increased by 48% (61,000 applications).
While immigration case backlogs are no rarity, this backlog is particularly worrying given the reconsideration of the DACA program with the State of Texas asking a federal judge to suspend or shut down the program. Because of this request by the State, the legality of the DACA program is being examined. As a result many immigrants are rushing to get their DACA status renewed or for the first time. Yet it is important to note that the Biden administration is working on codifying DACA into federal law.
This backlog is not just threatening legal status of some U.S. immigrants but is also causing individuals whose renewal cases have been delayed to lose their jobs therefore losing employment benefits such as health insurance. These losses are critical. These losses are what keep families and individuals healthy and safe. But it has been assured that USCIS realizes the impact their inefficiency has caused, with their spokesperson Victoria Palmer saying, “USCIS also knows that policies and procedures have a direct impact on the lives of DACA recipients and we are committed to minimizing processing delays to help facilitate access to benefits and restore confidence in the system.”
In the end, this backlog and its consequences accentuate the downfalls of the U.S. immigration system. Vice President Harris acknowledges how, “[even] with DACA in place, we know that Dreamers live in a constant state of fear about their status and about their future.” A pathway to citizenship is essential to the wellbeing of U.S. immigrants and our nation as a whole. For this reason we’ll all be paying close attention to the policy the Biden Administration pursues to fulfill their promise to provide it.
Image Courtesy of CBS News
Gómez, Laura. “Feds Slow to Process New DACA Applications, Creating 55k Case Backlog.” Arizona Mirror, July 6, 2021. https://www.azmirror.com/blog/feds-slow-to-process-new-daca-applications-creating-55k-case-backlog/?utm_campaign=HubSpot-AILA8-07-07-2021&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8mJQNlNBxahpkGW0kUlPsDTWW6ApqQxyiySGrCeuuJI09aAKV22cKLPF0EFfETpc5h6nmD.
Montoya-Galvez, Camilo. “Biden Administration Assigns More Staff to Review DACA Applications as Backlog Soars.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, July 13, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/immigration-daca-applications-biden-administration-more-staff/.
Schnell, Mychael. “DACA Recipients Losing Jobs as Pandemic Paperwork Backlog Leads to Expired Permits.” TheHill. The Hill, July 15, 2021. https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/563111-daca-recipients-losing-jobs-as-pandemic-paperwork-backlog-leads.