Thursday, May 2, 2013

DACA Approval Rate Dispute Between USCIS And CIS

The Obama administration has approved a whopping 99.5 percent of the request for the new deferred action program that protects undocumented youth from deportation and grants them work permits, a conservative think tank calculates.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) says this approval rate is “quite worrisome” because it appears to be “well above” the approval rates for other programs like it. It also questions whether the Obama administration is doing enough to weed out fraud in the application process for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as it’s formally known.

“USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) should answer public concerns that DACA applicants are not required to prove their claims of eligibility, and that the agency is taking proper care to vet applicants so that unqualified and possibly dangerous individuals will be screened out and removed,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at CIS, said in statement.

USCIS latest data shows that by the end of March, the agency had accepted 472,004 requests for deferred action. Of those requests, 268,361 were approved and 1,377 were denied. The rest are still under review.

USCIS says 99.5 percent approval rate is ‘inaccurate’

But USCIS press secretary Christopher Bentley rejected CIS’s claim that 99.5 percent of DACA requests have been approved.

He said the accurate approval rate is 57 percent, taking into account the 472,004 requests that have been accepted and the 268,361 requests that have been approved.

“It’s simply inaccurate to say there’s an approval rate of 99.5 percent, because it doesn’t look at the whole application process,” Bentley said.

He explained that there are hundreds of requests that are still being reviewed, including 16,778 requests that were rejected because they were deemed incomplete. A letter asking for additional evidence was sent to applicants whose request was rejected. USCIS makes a decision on whether to approve or deny those requests once the additional evidence is received, a process that could take weeks.

Bentley said he expects the number of denied requests for deferred action will increase as USCIS decides on the remaining requests that are under review.

USCIS statistics show there has already been an uptick in the number of deferred action requests that have been denied. From Aug. 15 until the end of October, only six requests for deferred action were denied. In the month of March alone, 841 requests were denied.

USCIS has also made it clear that anyone who commits fraud on a request for deferred action will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These individuals could also be subject to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the U.S.

President Barack Obama announced the deferred action program on June 15. A month later, USCIS began accepting requests for the federal program.

You can see the latest DACA processing stats in the link below:

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