On September 10, the Wall Street Journal reported that USCIS only received 40,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) applications out of a pool of an estimated 1.7 million potential applicants.
Yesterday (September 11, 2012), the Associated Press reported that USCIS received 72,000 DACA applications and that a "small group" have been approved. DHS has not released the actual statistics on DACA approvals.
This report of approvals has been confirmed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA was contacted directly by DHS who indicated that electronic notifications of approval of DACA applications are being sent, and that grants should start "trickling out in the coming days." AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12091150 (posted Sep. 11, 2012).
So the question becomes: have there been 40,000, or 72,000 DACA applications received, and moreover, where are these statistics coming from if DHS isn't releasing the actual numbers?
The cynic in me can't help to think that the ambiguity in reporting is politically motivated, as there is no other viable reason for the most transparent administration in history to be tight-lipped about the number of DACA approvals... unless the actual numbers are exponetially lower than what is expected. Kinda like when the Morton memo only resulted in 1.9% of all reviewed cases receiving a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
So that being said, here are the questions that I, and an estimated 1.7 million potential DACA applicants, would like some hard answers to:
- How many DACA applications have actually been received by USCIS?
- How many DACA applications have been approved by USCIS?
- How many DACA approval notices have already been mailed?
- How many DACA applications have been denied by USCIS?
- What was the basis for the denial (i.e., fraud in the application, serious misdemeanor, ineligibility, etc.)?
- How many DACA applications have received requests for additional information?
- How many DACA applications are awaiting adjudication in the pipeline?
- And most importantly... How many denials, if any, have resulted in a referral to ICE for the institution of removal proceedings.
Maybe I'm being a stickler for details, but if you are going to use the lives of undocumented immigrants as a political football it is only fair to put all of the facts on the table.
I'm not holding my breath.