DACA celebrates 4 years; more than 728,000 cases approved

Today marks four years since applications for DACA - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program - began being accepted.

Thanks to President Barack Obama and his administration, more than 728,000 individuals and their families have benefited from temporary immigration relief.

Since the DACA application deadline opened on August 15, 2012 through March 31, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received 868,615 initial enrollment applications to the program.

Of that number, USCIS rejected 49,103.

Of the 819,512 applications accepted for processing, 728,285 were approved, 57,268 were denied and 33,959 are still pending.

Most DACA applicants are of Mexican origin and live in California.

DACA Re-enrollment

The federal government received a total of 575,147 DACA renewal applications. between June 5, 2014 and March 31, 2016. Of that number, USCIS accepted 539,008 applications for processing and rejected 36,139.

Of the 539,008 applications accepted for processing, 511,119 applications were approved, 3,980 were denied and 23,909 are still pending.

Demographics of DACA recipients

The five countries with the largest number of DACA recipients:

Mexico - 569,257

El Salvador - 26,235

Guatemala - 18,120

Honduras - 17,037

Peru - 8,684

The five states with the largest number of DACA recipients:

California - 210,712

Texas - 117,025

Illinois - 40,162

New York - 36,640

Florida - 28,858

Thousands more could sign up for DACA

It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of DACA-eligible youth who have not yet applied for DACA. It is important that everyone who is eligible for DACA file an application.

Don't be afraid to take calculated risks. It is better to have temporary protection from deportation than none at all.

In addition, DACA recipients will be able to have a work permit if they demonstrate that they have an economic need. By having a work permit, they will be able to apply for social security and a driver's license.

To read more about how to submit an initial DACA application click here and here.

To read more about how to renew DACA click here.

DACA is not a pathway to permanent residency

DACA is a temporary program and does not lead to permanent residency. This could only change if the U.S. Congress amends the law.

Someday, the U.S. government will determine that it is no longer necessary and will cancel the program. When that happens, everyone with DACA will revert to the immigration status they had before, such as being undocumented. If you have no other legal option to stay in the United States, you will be subject to removal from the country.

It is of utmost importance that all DACA enrollees consult with an immigration attorney or a federally accredited representative to evaluate their options for obtaining permanent residency in the United States.

Please do not go to notaries, immigration consultants, paper fillers or multi-services.