RELEASE: Urgency of Legislative Fix for Dreamers and the Need for Increased Support for DACA Renewals Only Intensifies After March 5, New CAP Analysis Concludes

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new analysis of DACA renewals and losses post-March 5, the Trump-imposed deadline that Congress is failing to meet in finding a permanent solution for Dreamers. Even before March 5, and more intensely after, the risk of being detained or deported looms large over immigrant youth across America, finds “Dreams Deferred: A Look at DACA Renewals and Losses Post-March 5,” a new analysis out today by Tom Jawetz, Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, and Philip E. Wolgin.

After President Trump’s declaration on September 5, 2017, to end DACA, some 20,000 DACA recipients who were eligible to apply for renewal did not meet the administration’s deadline to submit an application. CAP analysis of new data released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows that in the three weeks following a court injunction permitting these and other DACA recipients to apply for DACA renewals, less than 10 percent of those whose DACA was set to expire between September 5 and March 5 filed applications. That means that while all of them will have lost protection by March 5, only a small fraction may now be on the path to regaining protection in the weeks and months ahead. For the nearly 680,000 individuals whose protections expire in March and beyond, only 14,000 had applied for renewal as of January 31.

The data are clear: Unless significant numbers of Dreamers apply for renewal going forward, many more Dreamers will see lapses in their status or will lose their DACA permanently.

And while the court injunctions now allow anyone who had DACA previously to renew their status, hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers—including the youngest Dreamers who are now in middle and high school and would have aged into DACA had the administration not ended the program—now have no avenue to apply for protection. Likewise, older Dreamers who came to the United States at a similarly young age as DACA recipients and have now lived here for 20 years or more remain ineligible for DACA and are wholly at risk.

More than anything, CAP’s new analysis concludes that two things are needed:

First and foremost, Congress must pass permanent legislative protection for Dreamers—those losing or seeing lapses in their status as well as those Dreamers locked out of DACA entirely cannot wait.

Second, national, state, and local organizations—as well as the philanthropic community, businesses, universities, and state and local governments—should do more to spread the word about DACA renewals, facilitate applications, and help to defray the nearly $500 application fee.

“With so little that is under our control at this point, we know this: More DACA renewal applications means fewer people losing their DACA protections in the months ahead,” the authors conclude.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Elena Gaona at egaona@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6322.