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At Least 74 DACA Applications Were Rejected Because The U.S. Postal Service Was Late

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On Sept. 5, the Trump Administration officially rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although President Trump extended a six-month grace period for Congress to act a proposed DREAM Act, no new DACA applications would be accepted after the announcement. Those enrolled in the program whose DACA permit expired in March of 2018 were allowed to get a two-year renewal as long as they submitted their application by Oct. 5 of this year.

Unfortunately, some who mailed in their renewal forms with plenty of time to spare may still face deportation after a mistake by the U.S. Postal Service.

At least 41 applications from Chicago and 33 from New York that were mailed before the Oct. 5 deadline never arrived at their destination, the New York Times reports. The postal service said it takes full responsibility for the error.

According to the Times, David A. Partenheimer, a spokesman for the post office, said there had been an “unintentional temporary mail processing delay in the Chicago area.”

Although the U.S. Postal Service, a government agency, admitted to a delay in service, immigration officials are not going to consider the applications, which are considered late because they were received after the deadline.

“According to U.S.C.I.S. regulations, a request is considered received by U.S.C.I.S. as of the actual date of receipt at the location for filing such request,” Steve Blando, a spokesman for the agency, wrote in a statement to the New York Times, adding: “U.S.C.I.S. is not responsible for the mail service an individual chooses, or for delays on the part of mail service providers.”

That means at least 74 DACA recipients are out of luck. The New York Times reports out of 154,000 people that were eligible to renew for DACA by Oct. 5, 132,000 applications were received on time.

UPDATE:

According to a press release, House Democrats will send a letter to acting Secretary Elaine Duke demanding that the Department of Homeland Security reconsider the applications of DACA recipients who applied for an extension but were rejected after the delay by the U.S. Postal Service.

“DACA recipients are young Americans who study, contribute to our economy, and serve in our armed forces. They are our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. The DACA recipients who sent in their renewals well in advance do not deserve to have their applications rejected for factors outside of their control,” lawmakers said in a letter. “We urge you to reverse your current stance and process those applications postmarked by October 5th.”

H/T: Daily Kos: Dozens of DACA recipients had their renewal applications rejected because of a USPS delay

READ: The Trump Administration Has Officially Rescinded DACA. Here’s What You Need To Know.

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Puerto Ricans Are Receiving Emergency Food Packages That Are Using Candy For Fruit

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Puerto Ricans Are Receiving Emergency Food Packages That Are Using Candy For Fruit

@lanenaborikua / Twitter / CBS This Morning / YouTube

It has been almost two months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and inhabitants were forced to deal with its laundry list of impacts. After months of dealing with red-tape and neglect, Puerto Rican residents are now dealing with what many on social media are criticizing as inadequate food aid. All of which, many are claiming, is coming to them from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the form of Cheez-Its, Snickers bars, and canned sausages.

Here’s what the food packages look like as well as FEMA’s response to the complaints.

According to images of the boxes that the food rations were delivered in, the foods provided “fit” certain specifications.

One image from a family member of a survivor revealed a box that suggested that the canned meat equated to an entrée. The packs of Cheez-Its served as starch, the Air Heads candies met fruit requirements, and the Baby Ruth candy bars were dessert. The snack packs are being distributed on the island to people who have been waiting for government-issued food to help in their own recovery.

People in Puerto Rico have been sharing images of the food packages that they’ve been receiving from the government agency, FEMA.

mitú reached out to FEMA for information about the snack packs. The agency explained that it was not involved in the orders or purchases of the snack packs sent to aid the island’s recovery. Rather, the agency said that the food packages are coming from a variety of local agencies, which include the Defense Logistics Agency. FEMA’s only involvement with the snack packs is in their distribution. Ron Roth, a spokesperson from the agency, also spoke to mitú and said that in addition to delivering the snack packs, the agency is also involved in delivering ready-to-eat meals to residents on the island.

Roth further explained the way in which the emergency response agency works with contracted companies to provide food packages in case of emergencies.

“While a list of contracts for supplying meals is not currently available, FEMA’s contracting process identifies companies capable of providing several approaches to appropriately feeding disaster survivors,” said Roth. “One of these approaches in Puerto Rico has used ‘snack packs’ previously ordered and stockpiled by the Defense Logistics Agency. These snacks are not meant to replace full meals.”

In addition to local agencies, these companies also include nongovernmental organizations and private contractors who work to organize and send food to victims of natural disasters quickly.

Roth said that FEMA is aware of the social media backlash and that FEMA is working to validate the claims of only receiving snack packs.

These snack packs have made their way to the Puerto Rican people since October through the Defense Logistics system, according to Roth. The spokesperson further explained that FEMA contracts vendors that can provide full meals for disaster victims. “FEMA is committed to providing stable and nutritious meals to the citizens of Puerto Rico,” Roth said. “Early on in the disaster 18 school locations were set up to provide morning and noon meals seven days a week. This is in addition to the ongoing wide range of meals already being provided to survivors by the government of Puerto Rico, FEMA and the numerous volunteer agencies feeding Puerto Ricans across the island.”

Along with ensuring these snack packs are delivered to victims, Roth made clear that FEMA includes works to ensure food rations meet customary requirements. “FEMA’s general contract language calls for full meals to provide foods composed of starches, vegetables, and protein,” Roth said. “They should have over 700 calories and be culturally appropriate for Puerto Rico with proper utensils.”

According to Roth, the crisis in Puerto Rico has posed the “largest emergency food and water distribution effort” in FEMA history.

“Requests for meal deliveries are declining as supermarkets and other parts of the private sector continue to reopen, providing survivors additional ways to feed their families,” Roth said. “More work still needs to be done, however, and all these efforts together will continue the progress we’ve made.”

If you or a loved one has only received snack packs and not full meals, FEMA’s representative recommends contacting local officials or contacting FEMA so that they can address the issue. The number for disaster victims to contact FEMA is 1-800-621-3362.


READ: 5 Creative Ways The People Of Puerto Rico Are Persevering

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