Feds: Undocumented Youth Who Got a 3-Year DACA Work Permit Have to Return It Immediately, Get a 2-Year Instead

Undocumented youth who got a three-year work permit under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals have to return them immediately or face getting the relief revoked, according to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

More than 2,000 of these were approved and sent out after U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas issued on Feb. 16 a temporary injunction against the expanded version of DACA (when President Obama first issued the program in 2012, the work permit had to be renewed every two years) and a relief program for parents of U.S. citizen or legal resident children, known as DAPA.

"USCIS has 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," a statement from the agency says.

The 2014 executive actions, eliminated age restrictions for those applying for DACA and extended the work permit from two years to three years. So, those who qualified for the first DACA, upon renewal, could get a three-year work permit. About 2,100 recipients wrongfully ended up getting a three-year work permit after Feb. 16. Those who only qualify for the second DACA were supposed to begin sending off their applications in February, but, for obvious reasons, could not move forward with that.

The agency has re-issued and mailed the corrected two-year work permits and has also notified them that the three-year permits are not valid and must be immediately returned, along with any other notices. About 1,000 people already returned their permits.

People who have to return their three-year permits and haven't done so will be contacted by USCIS either by phone or in person. They might even be coming to homes, according to the statement. Immigration rights advocates like the National Immigration Law Center and United We Dream are urging people to send them back and to contact the group for any help. The deadline is July 17.

USCIS also advises people to contact the agency with any questions. Their website has a helpful chart, here.

Last week, the Obama administration presented its oral arguments to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, defending both programs, which came to be after the president issued several executive actions in November. Hanen temporarily blocked the two in February, while a lawsuit on behalf of 26 states—led by Texas and that includes Arizona—plays out in court.

Both programs would reportedly benefit about 5 million undocumented people in the U.S.

According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, legal experts say the case is probably headed to the U.S. Supreme Court and then back to Hanen's desk.