Over 500,000 DREAMers have been granted temporary resident status since the Deferred Action program began in June 2012.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, an astonishing 97% of processed applications were approved for Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program through which children who were brought to the country illegally are granted a two-year protection from deportation.
According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports, more than 610,000 DACA applications have been successfully submitted. Of those processed, 521,815 were approved.
Not too surprisingly, eight of the top 10 countries of origin for DACA applicants are Latin American, with Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras leading the way. Mexico-born DREAMers represented the majority of applicants (467,000) of which 86% were approved. There were also a significant number of Asian-born applicants, including those from South Korea and the Philippines.
DACA was created in June 2012 through an executive order by President Barack Obama to help DREAMers after the DREAM Act failed to pass through Congress. While it has its benefits — such as allowing approved DREAMers to legally work, attend school and even get a drivers license — it also has its downfalls. It does not offer legal status or a pathway to citizenship. And its short-term expiration date means applicants need to reapply every two years at an application rate of $465.
While the success of DACA is undeniable, a more permanent status for DREAMers may be on its way if the immigration reform bill passes. The bill includes a provision that would give DREAMers a fast track to citizenship.