Girjalva Demands Automatic DACA Extensions

Girjalva Demands Automatic DACA Extensions

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
April 4, 2024

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, better known as "Dreamers," are experiencing long waits for renewals of their status. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) recently joined over 100 members of Congress in demanding lawful DACA recipients receive automatic extensions amidst the backlog, saying, "We ask that you dedicate the appropriate resources to this process, to ensure that renewals can be processed in a timely manner."

Rep. Grijalva's press release estimated there are approximately 554,000 DACA recipients in the United States, with around 154,000 in California and another 100,000 in Texas. However, KFF's estimate was slightly higher at 580,000 as of December 2022, with 28% of recipients (162,000) in California and 98,000 in Texas.

As Rep. Grijalva noted, extensions to DACA status are not automatic while recipients wait to hear the word on their status, which often takes months. The Arizona Congressman described recipients waiting on hearing back from US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) since August of 2023, even as USCIS had recommended applicants file their requests 4-5 months in advance.

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"Many of our offices have heard from constituents that the increased [USCIS] backlog has resulted in many DACA recipients waiting several months to hear back," the members wrote. "These delays threaten the ability of many DACA recipients to work, drive, or go to school."

Moreover, although the letter appreciated USCIS's commitment to maintaining DACA, "We ask that you dedicate the appropriate resources to this process, to ensure that renewals can be processed in a timely manner."

Nearly all of the House Democrats signed the letter, including Grijalva, such as Representatives Kathy Castor (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). 

Grijalva had also led a recent effort to demand the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to improve the CBP One app used by migrants entering the country due to problems with facial recognition technology, lack of additional languages, and limited capacity for asylum screenings.

This latest request for automatic DACA extensions also comes hot on the heels of a bill recently reintroduced by Representative Eli Crane (R-AZ), which would restrict family-sponsored visas to immediate nuclear family members of current visa holders.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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