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DACA News: Four Years Later: Here's How Many Immigrants Have Utilized the Deferred Action Program

First Posted: Jun 15, 2016 12:39 PM EDT
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It's June 15 once again, and it's another year since President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed more than 700,000 undocumented immigrant youths to stay in the U.S.

DACA's Requirements

On June 15, 2012, from the White House, the Obama administration introduced DACA, which allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before reaching 16 years old but were below 31 years old at the time of the president's announcement, to apply for two-year renewable authorization to remain in the U.S. and avoid deportation. DACA applicants must have no felony convictions, significant misdemeanor and pose zero threat to national security and public safety.

DACA applicants must be a student, attending either public or private high school, or secondary school or obtained a GED. Among the series of requirements, there is also a fee to apply, but exemptions are available.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has been tasked to oversee the DACA application process. Since its introduction, the USCIS approved more than 728,285 DACA applications, which includes a criminal background check,

Immigrants who receive DACA status are still not considered as lawful U.S. residents.

DACA in Numbers

Most of DACA's applicants, as of March 31, are of Mexican descent. The USCIS have approved over 569,000 DACA applications from immigrations originally from Mexico, follow by El Salvador with just over 26,000, Guatemala with 18,000 and Honduras with 17,000.

DACA applicants aren't solely coming from Central America, but also South America and beyond. Peru finalizes the top five DACA countries, followed by Brazil and then South Korea with nearly 7,000 applicants.

Other countries of origin that have applied for DACA include Philippines, Jamaica, India, Trinidad and Tobago, Pakistan, Poland, Nigeria and other Latin American countries.

The U.S. state that is home to most DACA applicants is California, with over 210,000 applications approved and another 148,000 renewed. Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida comprise of the top five states. But even U.S. territories are home to DACA recipients, such as Puerto Rico, Virgina Islands and Guam.

What's Next for DACA

In November 2014, Obama announced an extension of DACA, which would expand eligibility for immigrants over 31 years old and extend the two-year stay to three renewable years. In his executive action, Obama also introduced the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which aims for the parents of either legal permanent residents or U.S. citizen children to also temporarily stay for three renewable years. DAPA and DACA's extended guidelines would allow up to 4.9 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S.

Legal troubles, led by Republican governors or attorneys general, have paused the federal government from implementing the two new programs. Lawsuits to block DACA+ and DAPA have reached to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a decision is expected this June.

With an eight-member Supreme Court, a potential tie, 4-4, would render a stay in the lower courts' decisions, which allowed the blocking of DAPA and DACA's expansion.

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For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: m.oleaga@latinpost.com.

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