Some 550,000 young undocumented immigrants have received temporary protection from deportation and work authorization since President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in June 2012, according to new data released by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  The news comes as DACA approaches its two-year anniversary in August, when Dreamers who benefitted from it will have to begin applying for renewal.  As Colorlines noted in March, they’ll have to time it well: USCIS requires that they submit renewal applications between three to four months before the date it expires – no sooner or later. 

The data shows that about 82 percent of all applicants since the program’s inception have been approved.  A little under a third (162,007) live in California, while about half as many (88,106) are from Texas.  They are overwhelmingly from Mexico, with about 77 percent of recipients showing it as their country of origin, followed by Central Americans: 20,227 El Salvadorans, 13,301 Guatemalans and 13,223 Hondurans successfully applied.  The total number of applications, even including those rejected outright by USCIS, remains well below some independent estimates of the number of Dreamers eligible. Last year, the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimated, using census data, that about 1.9 million “Dreamers” could be eligible.

DACA has proven unpopular with House Republicans, who last June voted almost unanimously to tack an amendment onto a homeland security appropriations bill which would have defunded the program.  Some have also cited it as an example of President Obama’s “executive overreach”, which GOP lawmakers charge with derailing efforts at bipartisan reform, saying it makes them doubt that Homeland Security would comply with new immigration-enforcement laws.