Photo: DACA One Year Later
The community of undocumented youth that have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood program (DACA) are celebrating the one -year anniversary of the programs implementation.
Since the program was created by the Obama administration 557,412 applications have been received from the 1.6 million eligible undocumented youth. About 400,000 of those applicants have been granted a reprieve from deportation and received work authorization.
Only one percent of applicants have been denied a DACA status.
Not surprisingly a vast majority of DACA applicants are from Latin America with Mexican youth representing the largest applicant pool. 75 percent of applicants have been being living in the U.S. as undocumented for a decade or more.
Chicago Democratic Congressmen Luis Gutierrez who is spearheading the push for immigration reform in Congress said,
“DACA was an important test for the pro-immigrant movement in this country. Young people lined up by the thousands a year ago and we had a secure, orderly process for registering with the government, submitting fees and fingerprints, and going through a thorough background check. When we get a broader immigration bill passed this year, it is going to require a massive civil undertaking to get people in the system and on the books, but DACA was a good dress rehearsal. “
The Deferred Action program is open to undocumented immigrants 30 years old and younger who were brought to the United States before the age of 16. Applicants need five years of continuous residence in the country, a high school diploma or GED, and proof of current or previous military service or college enrollment. Those seeking deferred action submit fingerprints and other biometric data and undergo an extensive background check, as well as pay a fee of $465.
During the last year DACA have influenced states to granted driving privileges to those individuals that have received deferred status while other states have granted in-state tuition to them.
On its one-year anniversary DACA is viewed by many immigration advocates as the single-most influential humanitarian immigration act put into place in decades, though it is temporary in nature.