The DACA Work Permit Recall: What You Need to Know

This article was updated on July 18, 2015. It wrongly stated that ALL persons with 3-year work permits should return them, when in fact only people issued 3-year EADs after Feb. 16, 2015 are required to return the documents, along with a small group of 500 originally issued 3-year work permits before Feb. 16. For more details, see section “Who needs to return their EADs?”

After falsely issuing 2,000 3-year work permits to DACA recipients, the USCIS is now in the process of a mass recall. Work permits issued after the Feb. 16, 2015 injunction that put the Expanded DACA program on hold, are required to be returned to the USCIS as soon as possible.

When President Obama announced his executive actions on immigration in November 2014, part of the Expansion to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was to lengthen the program from 2 years to 3 years. The USCIS began issuing 3-year Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) immediately, before the DACA Expansion formally went into effect. This became a problem when the DACA Expansion was put on hold by a lawsuit in February 2015.

The USCIS began sending letters to DACA recipients with 3-year EADs in May. The letters instructed them to return the 3-year EADs and informing them that they would be issued 2-year EADs. Some DACA recipients have received multiple letters and phone calls regarding this issue. Beginning July 16, USCIS plain-clothed officers will begin making home visits to collect the EADs.

The following FAQs are from information published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), AILA Doc. No. 15070802, and the USCIS.

Who needs to return their EADs?

People who were issued 3-year EADs after Feb. 16, 2015,  are required by the USCIS to return them.

People who were issued 3-year EADs on or before Feb. 16, 2015 are NOT required to return them.

There is also a recall for 500 DACA recipients who were issued 3-year EADs before Feb. 16, 2015, but in a very specific circumstance. Here’s what the USCIS says about that:

“Separately, about 500 three-year EADs that were approved and issued before the February 16, 2015, injunction were returned to USCIS as undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service. These cards were subsequently re-mailed to an updated address after the injunction. USCIS has also taken action to correct this issue for these individuals and has updated their records to reflect a two-year period of deferred action and employment authorization. USCIS is re-issuing corrected two-year EADs to these individuals.  USCIS has also notified these individuals that the three-year EADs are no longer valid and must be immediately returned, along with any related approval notices. USCIS is carefully tracking the number of returns of these invalid EADs and continues to take steps to collect the remaining cards.”

What to do if you haven’t returned your 3-year EAD

As soon as possible, go to the nearest USCIS office field office and return your 3-year EAD or certify that it has been returned or that it has been lost.

If your EAD was issued after Feb. 16, 2015:  You should return it by as soon as possible.

Find a USCIS field office near you.

I lost my 3-year EAD. What do I do?

You should still go to a USCIS field office as soon as possible and certify that is has been lost. Find a USCIS field office near you.

What happens if a USCIS officer comes to my house?

The USCIS plans to make home visits in Chicago and Los Angeles, and possibly Dallas and Houston. The USCIS officer is there to request you return your 3-year EAD. If you have it, give it to him or her. At that point, the officer should inform of what you need to do to maintain your DACA status. If the officer doesn’t give you specific information, be sure to contact your USCIS field office as soon as possible.

Where will the USCIS officers be making home visits?

The USCIS plans to make home visits in Chicago and Los Angeles, and possibly Dallas and Houston.

What happens if you do not return your 3-year EAD?

People who refuse to return their 3-year EADs could lose their DACA status and their work permit could become invalid.

I haven’t received my 2-year EAD yet. When can I expect it?

If your 3-year EAD was issued after Feb. 16, 2015, you should have already received your replacement 2-year EAD. If you have not, contact the USCIS and request more information.

If your 3-year EAD was issued before Feb. 16, 2015,  you can expect to receive your replacement 2-year EAD during the weeks of July 13 and July 20.

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