Published:  May 10, 2013

There are at least 11 million folks in the U.S. who are more than a little curious whether immigration reform and a legalization program will ever become law.  With legislators in Congress “marking up” proposals and negotiating the details of a new law, we will no doubt have a better sense of the viability and substance of an eventual measure in the coming months.  In the meantime, undocumented childhood arrivals qualifying for 2 year work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) program continue to receive approvals.

As of March 31, 2013, more than 488,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) applications have been received by U.S. Department of Homeland Security. DACA applicants are also known as “DREAMERS” since they make up the demographic that would presumably benefit from previously proposed legislation known as the DREAM Act – i.e. young adults brought to the U.S. as children and who have remained in the U.S., through no fault of their own, for an extended period.  The vast majority of DACA applicants have been scheduled for, or have completed, their biometric fingerprinting process.  Importantly, to this point, more than 268,000 applicants have been approved and issued 2 year deferred action status notices and 2 year employment authorization documents (EAD).  These numbers and milestones are consistent with developments our office has seen with our clients’ applications, with clients receiving approvals and EAD’s within 8 weeks of filing in most cases.

In general, our office has been seeing processing times range from 60 days to 150 days, although as more applications are received by DHS, an expanded processing time frame can be expected.  Further, to extent an applicant’s background may involve a complicating factor, such as a criminal arrest or pending removal proceedings, application processing may be a bit slower.   Additionally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently announced that the scheduling of interviews at local CIS offices for certain applicants in the coming month.  In general, interviews will be scheduled for randomly chosen applicants, as well as for applicants whose cases involve factors possibly impacting eligibility.

Demographic Breakdown of Applicants:

Country of Origin and States of Residence

Origin:                                                 Received to Date                                                Approved
Mexico:                                                    354,002                                                             209,978

El Salvador:                                               18,949                                                               10,840

Honduras:                                                  12,603                                                                 6,019

Guatemala:                                                11,817                                                                  6,424

Peru:                                                            6,631                                                                  4,468

South Korea:                                               7,030                                                                   5,476

Brazil:                                                          5,589                                                                    3,374

Colombia:                                                   4,998                                                                    3,038

Ecuador:                                                      4,814                                                                    3,048

Philippines:                                                 3,315                                                                     2,370
Top 10 States of Residence:         Received to Date                                                 Approved
California:                                               134,167                                                                   73,104

Texas:                                                       76,438                                                                  49,297

New York:                                                 26,365                                                                  12,324

Illinois:                                                       24,928                                                                   19,055

Florida                                                        20,764                                                                    9,065

North Carolina:                                           17,006                                                                    6,425

Arizona:                                                      16,653                                                                   10,592

Georgia:                                                      15,417                                                                     8,647

New Jersey:                                                 14,390                                                                    8,483

Colorado:                                                     10,105                                                                    6,050


PUBLISHED May 10, 2013 – “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2013, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois