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Number of DREAMers applying for Deferred Action dropped in November

According to the latest USCIS data report, fewer undocumented immigrants applied for a deferred action in the first half of November. The deferred action program started by the Obama administration in August allows qualifying young immigrants with no legal status to continue staying in the U.S. They can also apply for a work permit. The average number of people applying for the benefit dropped to 4,500 during the first half of November.It’s important to note that an average of 5,700 and 5,300 people per day applied for the program in September and October respectively.

Right after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started accepting application in mid-August from eligible DREAMers, there was a big rush to send in applications. Based on the Pew Hispanic Center estimates, up to 1.7 million of the 4.4 million undocumented immigrants under 30 may qualify for the deferred action benefit.

However, the number of applications dropped in September and October. Top Immigration lawyers have noted that the fear of a Mitt Romney presidency is the leading reason for this drop in the number of applications. DREAMers were uncertain over the program’s future after the election including the possibility of Obama policy reversal by a Romney administration. Now, that President Obama has won the election, the number of applications is starting to rise again.

According to the USCIS report, 308,935 undocumented immigrants (18 percent of the estimated DREAMers population) had applied for the program. So far, more than 53,000 Dreamers have been approved for deferred action and an additional 124,572 applications are in the final stages of review. It should be noted that this program is temporary and is available to only those who meet all the Deferred Action requirements, such as attending or graduating from high school. After the election, comprehensive immigration reform seems to have become a top priority for both Democratic and Republican parties, giving new hope to eligible undocumented immigrants.