Yesterday marked one year since United States Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), created via an Executive Action by President Obama. Of the more than 500,000 application filed, 74% have been approved, 1% has been denied, while the other 25% are currently under review. This 1% reflects an extremely low denial rate by USCIS. The DACA program has mostly seen applications from Mexican nationals, with 75% of applicants hailing from Mexico. 10% were born in Central America, 7% in South America, 4% in Asia and 4% in the rest of the world. 75% of the 500,000 applicants have lived in the US for more than 10 years.
While 500,000 applications have been filed with USCIS, some analysts estimate that at least another 500,000 are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. If approved, DACA grants a successful applicant the ability to be in the United States, work legally, obtain a Social Security number and, depending on the state of residence, a driver license. While there is no path to citizenship, DACA affords undocumented immigrants the opportunity to truly begin living in the United States in their own identities. Once an application is approved it lasts for two years, upon which renewal is available for two year increments.
While the House battles over Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DACA remains an attractive option for those eligible for the program.