For two months following the approval of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) in 2012, immigrants could not register for protection with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – they were required to register with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Today, those eligible immigrants have the opportunity to renew their status and extend it for another two years, and the individuals that received deferred action from ICE will be the first to renew. USCIS says that only a small number of the people who applied for deferred action applied through ICE.
Deferred action status protects young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors, and allows them to legally remain in the country and work for two years. Those seeking a renewal of their status must apply through USCIS, no matter which agency granted them deferred action initially. If a beneficiary lets their status lapse without renewing every two years, they will no longer be able to work legally in the U.S. USCIS has suggested that deferred action status holders send in their applications at least four months before the expiration date of their status.
As of December 2013, more than 500,000 young immigrants had been approved for deferred action by USCIS. The majority of immigrants granted this status hail from Mexico, at 77 percent. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are the three other countries that make up more than 2 percent of the total population of eligible young people. South Korea is the next most common country of origin, with more than 7,100 approvals making up 1.4 percent of the total population of deferred action eligible immigrants in the U.S.
For status holders, the renewal application fees total $465, and that number has remained constant throughout the program, since its inception in 2012.