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Getting a package stuck in the mail can be a hassle or worse. Some so-called DREAMers are feeling that right now. Last month, thousands of these young people sent in applications to renew their enrollment in DACA, which is the program that protects them from being deported. That wasn't the end of the story though. Here's NPR's Joel Rose.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Varlene Cooper is a DACA recipient. She came here from Grenada 20 years ago and now lives in Brooklyn with her two kids who are U.S. citizens. Cooper says she mailed her DACA renewal and the application fee more than a week before the deadline of October 5 and then held her breath.
VARLENE COOPER: To DACA recipients it's our lives. This is our entire lives hanging in the balance.
ROSE: Cooper's application and an unknown number of others were sitting in a post office box on October 5. Federal bureaucrats didn't pick them up until the next day. U.S. Postal Service also failed to deliver a batch of applications until days after the deadline. They were all rejected for being late. Law student Hely Koh (ph) is part of a coalition of immigration and civil rights lawyers who are trying to block the Trump administration from phasing out DACA starting next year.
HELY KOH: These individuals did everything they could to comply with the government's demands, an arbitrary deadline. These applications were improperly rejected.
ROSE: The agency that processes DACA renewals, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, says roughly 4,000 applications were rejected for barely missing the deadline. It's not clear how many of those applications were rejected incorrectly. At first, the agency said those people were essentially out of luck. But this week it changed course and now says it will reconsider some applications that were rejected. That was a relief for Varlene Cooper.
COOPER: I was really happy that they said, you know, they will reconsider because it's not our fault. It's not our fault. We did what - we did everything you asked of us. And to have that, like, thrown in our face, that hurt.
ROSE: The lawyers who are fighting the Trump administration on DACA say they're going to make sure the rejected applicants are treated fairly. They say deadline snafu weren't the only problem. They say there were clerical mistakes, too, including one application that was rejected because a bureaucrat thought the applicant wrote 2012 on her check instead of 2017. Joel Rose, NPR News, New York.
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