LAS CRUCES - U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both New Mexico Democrats, have joined a group of 36 senators calling on the Trump administration to extend the Oct. 5 deadline for individuals eligible for renewals under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In a letter sent Monday to the acting secretary of Homeland Security, the senators cited recent devastating hurricanes as reason to extended to the next week's deadline. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, tens of thousands of DACA recipients live in areas impacted by the storms.
“In the last month, several major hurricanes made landfall in the Unites States. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated Texas and Florida. Hurricane Maria recently crippled Puerto Rico, leaving the entire island without electricity. These major hurricanes significantly disrupted day to day living and operations in these states and territories,” the letter states.
“It would be appropriate for the government to extend the October 5, 2017 deadline nationwide to allow individuals adequate time to meet the government’s recent request,” the letter also states.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it was ending DACA, a program that allows some immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 to work and go to school without the fear of being deported.
The government will continue to accept DACA renewal applications for individuals whose current DACA status expires by March 5, 2018. Those renewal applications and a $495 fee are due by Oct. 5, and the lawmakers fear the recent disruptions caused by hurricanes could make it nearly impossible for some eligible recipients to meet the deadline.
“Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico are still working to recover and will be for some time,” the letter states. “An extension of the deadline would provide DACA recipients more time to collect the $495 application fee and gather the necessary documents to accurately complete the renewal application.”