Why DACA Matter - One Year Later

by Ann Cun

It’s been just over a year since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program was implemented by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). To mark its anniversary, the Brookings Institute recently conducted a review of the past 12 months of the DACA program based on documents provided by USCIS from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Its findings are very interesting and can be accessed in full here. Here are some of the interesting highlights:

Brookings Data on DACA Aug 2013

1. More than a half million people have applied for DACA from August 2012 to June 2013. (Access USCIS data on the latest DACA numbers here.) Seventy-two percent of applications received were approved while only 1% was denied.

2. Mexico is country of origin for 74.9% of DACA applicants. El Salvador is second (4%) and Honduras is third (2.75%).

3. DACA applicants overwhelming reside in California, Texas and New York, Illinois and Florida. Check out Brookings’ interactive map on these demographics.

DACA Applicants by State

4. More than 1/3 of DACA applicants are between the age of 15 and 18.

5. Nearly 3/4 of DACA applicants have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade and 1/3 since they were 5 years old or younger.

Our readers can also access more information about DACA by attending “DACA-One Year Later” webinar hosted by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) on August 22, 2013 at 2pm Eastern. Registration is available here.

Why the DACA Program Is Important to USCIS

Although the recent efforts to overhaul our immigration laws have reached an impasse in the House, nevertheless the prospect of comprehensive immigration reform remains a real objective. At some point in the future, our immigration reform laws will be overhauled. To that end, USCIS will be responsible for processing a significant increase in applicants for immigration services and benefits. What types of protocols should be established?

Today, the DACA Program provides USCIS a strong test-case for how to manage a sizeable surge in applicants. The DACA Program provides data for USCIS to assess whether the application fees were enough; evaluate the number of minutes (or hours) it took to review applications; and evaluate protocols for rejecting incomplete application, issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and issuing denials.

USCIS will very likely take the DACA model and apply it to comprehensive immigration reform requirements, when the time comes.

For now, although the number of DACA applications has slowed, the program remains ongoing and provides valuable insight into how our country will move forward with immigration reform.

Originally published by LawLogix Group Inc Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Ann Cun is a U.S. based immigration attorney who has helped companies in the technology, science, business, sports, entertainment and arts fields secure complex work visas for their employees. With more than a decade of experience as a paralegal and attorney, Ms. Cun possesses a stellar record of success. Her legal expertise also includes conducting internal I-9 audits for companies and developing I-9 compliant strategies and solutions. She is a graduate of UCLA and UC Hastings School of Law and has been invited to speak by the Bar Association of San Francisco and the American Immigration Lawyers Association on U.S. immigration related topics, as well as other international conferences. Ms. Cun is a contributing author and currently serves as Counsel and Principal Editor for LawLogix Group.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.