DACA at the Three-Year Mark: High Pace of Renewals, But Processing Difficulties Evident
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided hundreds of thousands of young unauthorized immigrants with a temporary reprieve from deportation and access to work authorization since it was first launched by the Obama administration in 2012.
August 2015 marks the three-year anniversary of the implementation of the DACA program, and the one-year mark since U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began renewing the grants of initial applicants. This brief finds that 83 percent, or 355,805, of the 430,396 beneficiaries eligible to renew their grants had done so as of March 31, 2015. The authors find that this high renewal application rate demonstrates the value that recipients place on DACA, which has provided life-altering benefits to many.
Overall, approximately 750,000 individuals had applied for DACA protection as of March 31—almost half of the nearly 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants ages 15 or older that MPI estimates are potentially eligible to apply. (MPI estimates another 423,000 under age 15 will be eligible to apply once they age in.)
The brief finds that even as most DACA participants are applying to renew their benefits as their initial grant nears its end date, the process has been hampered by processing delays within USCIS, confusion over the renewals process, lack of outreach and information, and difficulties for some affording the $465 application fee. The brief examines the status of DACA renewal applications and adjudications, the consequences of failing to renew on time, and issues affecting renewal rates.
II. The Renewal Process
III. Status of Applications and Adjudications
IV. The Consequences of Failure to Timely Renew DACA Grant
V. Issues Affecting DACA Renewal Rates