The American Immigration Lawyers Association recently obtained filing statistics for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) requests from USCIS. The numbers are astounding! From August 15 to September 13, 2012, nearly an entire month after USCIS began accepting requests from DACA candidates, USCIS has received nearly 83,000 requests. Yet, only 29 have been approved! What other important details do the numbers reveal?
Rejections vs. Acceptance
Although 96% of DACA requests are accepted by USCIS for processing, that means 4% are not (about 2,800). What effect does this have on those requests that have been rejected? Rejected requests are not the same as denials, but rather, they are packages that have not been accepted by USCIS for filing because the original package was deficient in some way. For example, the packages could have been missing government filing checks, lacked the proper forms or sent to the wrong address. This is all the more reason for DACA candidates to seek professional, legitimate legal assistance from qualified representatives.
Which states have the most populous DACA candidates? No surprise the states that border-states California (20k) and Texas (11k) have the most DACA candidates. New York came in at 6,600+ and Florida at just over 5,000. Only nine other states had more than 1,000 DACA candidates. Practitioners in states that have high immigrant populations will likely be fielding many DACA requestors’ questions. The American Immigration Council also provides a very interesting map of New American populations which can be compared against these DACA statistics to see how the data aligns.
Foreign National Origins
While the majority of DACA candidate requestors are from Mexico (over 46,000), a surprising minority were from countries not located in South America, including: South Korea, Philippines and India. Although it’s still early, the data highlights the fact that the DACA directive can affect nationals from all over the world in spite of the fact that the media has focus almost solely on Hispanic communities in the U.S. Sadly, the data also highlights the need for immigration reform to address and alleviate the challenges that are the cause of these skewed immigration numbers.
Requests for Evidence (RFEs)
In the first month, there appeared to be an insignificant number of Requests for Evidence issued. This is good news and bad news. The good news is the trend towards the last week of receipts indicated the government is at least issuing RFEs before denying a case. This is bad news is that if the RFE is not overcome, these cases would be denied. This brings us back to the role of immigration counsels and/or qualified, accredited representatives (approved by the Board of Immigration Appeals “BIA”). The DACA process is by no means a simple process and we always encourage our readers, particularly DACA candidates, to consult legal assistance prior to filing a case in order to fully assess their risks.
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What are your thoughts on the data so far? We’d love to hear your feedback.