The Obama administration is accelerating efforts to recoup three-year executive amnesty work permits it issued in violation of a federal judge’s injunction.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will begin visiting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries who received the illegal three-year work permits and have not yet returned them.
“USCIS officials will soon begin to visit the listed address of certain individuals who have not yet returned an invalid three-year employment authorization document (EAD) for the purpose of retrieving these EADs,” the agency explained in a statement. “USCIS has already attempted, or is in the process of attempting, to notify all recipients by mail and phone that the three-year EADs are no longer valid and must be immediately returned.”
According to the agency, officials will not be questioning people at the addresses they visit but rather retrieving the three-year work authorizations.
“Individuals who received these three-year EADs are not being penalized for requesting DACA, they are merely being reissued the correct two-year cards,” the agency added.
USCIS warns that those who do not return their three-year permits will find their DACA status terminated.
Judge Andrew Hanen — the judge presiding over 26 states’ legal challenge of executive amnesty, who issued the initial injunction — has said he will order top Obama immigration officials into court to explain the injunction violations if the agency has not recouped all the erroneously issued three-year work permits to the court’s satisfaction by July 31.
Hanen issued the injunction, halting Obama’s executive amnesty programs — expanded DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — in February. Prior to his injunction and after the Obama administration was issuing three-year work permits to DACA recipients, a part of the expanded executive amnesty DACA program.
While Hanen expressed anger that the administration started issuing three-year work permits prior to the official executive amnesty start dates without telling him, both sides have acknowledged that those post-injunction permits are illegal and must be recouped.
USCIS says about 2,100 three-year permits were issued post-injunction and another 500 were issued before the injunction but due to mail and address issues were mailed again after the injunction. All 2,600 are considered invalid. USCIS notes that the move does not apply to those three-year permits issued in advance of the injunction.
“This action does not apply to the approximately 108,000 three-year EADs that were approved and mailed by USCIS on or before the February 16, 2015, injunction date and that have never been returned or reissued by USCIS,” reads a USCIS fact sheet.
According to amnesty groups briefed on the matter, federal officials are slated to begin home visits Thursday in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston. The groups say that there are about 1,000 outstanding three-year permits.