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75 Percent of Eligible DACA Recipients Beat Renewal Deadline


FILE - Demonstrators protest in front of the White House after the Trump administration scrapped Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Sept. 5, 2017.

With a cutoff date of Thursday for more than 150,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, about three-quarters of those eligible to renew their temporary status have sent in their paperwork, official data released Wednesday show.

That potentially leaves tens of thousands of people who received work permits and relief from possible deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) without the protections afforded by the policy, which the Trump administration decided to phase out last month.

As of Oct. 4, 112,000 of those DACA recipients whose status was set to expire by March 5, 2018, had applied for the two-year extension, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that processes the applications.

Those 38,000 who have yet to submit renewals have until Oct. 5 to deliver their paperwork to the filing locations.

FILE - President Donald Trump listens in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, March 29, 2017.
FILE - President Donald Trump listens in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, March 29, 2017.

President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to end the Obama-era policy. On Sept. 5, his administration announced the end of DACA.

The government said it would no longer accept new applicants effective immediately, but gave those who were already in the program and eligible for renewal between the date of the announcement and March 6, 2018, one month to file their paperwork.

About 58,000 immigrants had applied for the renewals before the announcement, but the decision prompted a four-week sprint for the remainder to pay the $495 fee and submit their paperwork.

Between Sept. 5 and Oct. 4, one day before the cutoff, USCIS received an additional estimated 54,000 extension applications, leaving about 27 percent of potential renewals in limbo.

A spokesperson for the agency said they do not know when the final number received by Oct. 5 will be available.

Raising the money

The financial strain for some of paying the renewal fee prompted generous solutions to raising money.

The governor of Rhode Island said that more than $170,000 in donations meant no state resident covered by the program would need to pay the fee. Some state and national advocacy groups raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the fee for applicants. One organization offered $1 million to pay the renewals for 2,000 recipients.

Several individuals crowdsourced the funds to make the deadline, which in some cases was months earlier than they anticipated.

"Unfortunately, due to the recent rescinding of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, the deadline for my sister to renew her permit has moved up to October 5th. The $495 it costs to renew (plus the 5 percent additional fee through GoFundMe) may not sound like a lot of money, but for two college students that just moved away from home for the first time and are working to pay the bills and put ourselves through school, it's a bit more than we can manage at the moment," one young woman posted on a fundraising site. The sisters met the goal about two weeks ago.

FILE - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, left, and others members of the House and Senate Democrats, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 6, 2017.
FILE - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, left, and others members of the House and Senate Democrats, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 6, 2017.

Fully undocumented status

Beginning in March, those DACA recipients who were not eligible to renew by Oct. 5 will begin to see their status expire, and along with it their ability to work legally. They will revert to a fully undocumented status, rather than the temporary, partial relief afforded under DACA.

Trump framed the decision to end the program as a catalyst for Congress to pass a law that would codify a plan for DACA recipients. He and other DACA opponents say the Obama administration overstepped executive authority creating the policy.

When announcing the program in 2012, then-President Barack Obama asserted that it was meant to be a temporary measure while Congress grappled with broader immigration reforms that ultimately never came to fruition.

In the last five years, the U.S. government granted DACA status to roughly 800,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Of the approximately 700,000 people in the DACA program as of last month, nearly 80 percent are from Mexico, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and South Korea.

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