Bennet, Colleagues Call on DHS to Expedite DACA Renewal Process

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with a group of Democratic senators, this week sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielson urging DHS to expedite the processing of DACA renewal applications.

In January and February, two U.S. District Courts issued preliminary injunctions, which partially blocks the administration's termination of the DACA program, and directs DHS to resume accepting DACA renewal applications on the same terms as before the program was terminated on September 2017. Hundreds of thousands of individuals who previously received deferred action through the DACA program are now eligible to apply to keep or renew their status and, in the case of those whose DACA protections already have expired, to regain that status. Accelerating the review of these applications will help reduce the uncertainty and anxiety associated with President Trump's termination of DACA and demonstrate DHS's intention to comply with district courts' orders. Additionally, issuing official DHS policy guidance that makes clear DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities for removal will help ensure Dreamers are protected while their renewals are processed.

"We encourage DHS and USCIS to expedite the review and processing of these renewal applications," the senators wrote. "An estimated 20,000 young people have already seen their DACA status expire, and until those benefits are restored, they are vulnerable to the threat of detention and deportation, and may have already lost jobs, drivers' licenses, and educational opportunities. Reducing the processing time for DACA renewal applications, particularly for those individuals whose status has already expired, is a vital step to minimize fear and confusion for recipients, their families, employers, schools, and communities."

In addition, the senators urged Secretary Neilson to consider allowing current DACA recipients to automatically renew their work authorizations, since it is likely not all recipients applying for renewal will receive their new work permits before their current permits expire. The senators further urged the Secretary to issue official policy guidance that clearly states DACA recipients will not be enforcement priorities for removal. The senators requested updated information on the number of DACA renewal applications that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have received since announcing that the agency would resume accepting applications on January 13th, 2018.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.