Why is my DACA approval taking so long?

Miranda writes, "I sent my application for DACA about three months ago and had my biometrics about two months ago.  I meet all the requirements! So far, though, no answer.  The thing that makes me sad is seeing other people getting their EAD and Social Security cards.  I know I should be happy for them.  They deserve it as much as I do!  I have been a good student and was hoping to go to college as soon as I got approved.  I want this so bad and I cry just thinking about not being able to go to college and going back to Mexico.  I don't want to go back; this is my country, I love the USA as much as a citizen would! Please tell me how to find the courage to keep waiting ! How much longer do I have to wait?"

Why some immigration applications get delayed at the USCIS?     I am sorry to hear what you are going through but let me put some facts out for you so that you can better understand your situation.  Here are a few scenarios for DREAMers whose applications are taking too long to be processed by USCIS:


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  1. People who filed their application from states which have significant illegal immigrant populations, for instance, California, Texas, Arizona, etc.  are being sent to service centers that are swamped.
  2. Your case was not straightforward.  The way the process works in the USCIS is that an officer will conduct an initial review of your application package and if the application is filed correctly, if all the evidence is as needed, if you meet all the eligibility requirements with no gray areas, and if all comes clear in your background search, you will be approved almost immediately (that is why thousands of DREAMers were pleasantly surprised to find that they sailed through the process).  On the other hand, if there is even a small problem in any of the things above, you can imagine what happens in that situation: it gets routed to another officer or to a superior or they request more information from you or assign another experienced officer to investigate further.  That can delay things a lot depending on each case.
  3. Either you have a problem with your criminal history or you are one of those unfortunate individuals whose name and other personal information seems to match a criminal (which might trigger an extended security review).  In that case, the agency has to conduct additional research before approval.  That process can be awfully slow if paperwork is sent out to local law enforcement departments.
  4. You failed to disclose something that the USCIS knows about.  For instance, many DREAMers were not even aware that they had deportation orders issued against them because their family members never bothered to tell them or they never understood what was happening to their cases (non-English speakers often do not fully understand the process of immigration cases and often rely on incompetent attorneys or may not even have a counsel).  So while you might think that your case is simple, the USCIS may not think so.
  5. You deliberately lied on your application assuming that USCIS may never find out about it or you did not realize how serious it was or you simply forgot about it (if you were fingerprinted at a police station for a fight between students at school or for shoplifting and then let go because you were a teenager you may not think that it is a big deal but it will completely mess up your application).
I don't know what applies to you but please be patient.  If your application has not been rejected nor have you received a request for evidence (RFE) you just will need to wait.  In the meantime, you can also call the USCIS to ask a customer service agent about the status of your application and they can give you more information than what you will be able to get by just checking your application status online.  Remember that typical immigration processes are painfully slow (even for legal immigrants) and some people wait for years for their cases to be resolved.  DACA is moving forward pretty fast actually.