Utah DACA Applicants Receive High Approval Rate
SALT LAKE CITY - The majority of applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in Utah and across the nation are being approved, according to a recent study. DACA can provide temporary legal status for some undocumented immigrants.
Jeanne Batalova, senior policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute, says at least 80 percent of those who apply for DACA are accepted. The Migration Policy Institute examined the efficiency and rate of acceptance of DACA two years after the program was launched in 2012.
"Between August 15th, 2012, and March 31st, 2014, approximately 8,000 applications were submitted to the government from DACA youth living in Utah," says Batalova. "Of them, 6,700 were approved."
President Obama created the program by executive order in 2012, allowing some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to obtain a driver's license and become eligible for employment if they meet certain requirements, including being in the U.S. since before age 16, having no criminal history, and being currently enrolled in school or having graduated high school. There is broad opposition to the DACA program, primarily among congressional Republicans.
Nationally, Batalova says more than 500,000 people have been accepted for the DACA program, which she says was meant to help young people who were brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own.
"DACA is specifically for children who were brought to the United States by their parents and made this transition and migration," says Batalova, "without contributing to the decision - not of will of their own."
A person can hold DACA status for two years and then must apply for renewal. The Migration Policy Institute estimates more than 1.6 million people in the U.S. are potentially eligible for DACA status.