“DREAMers” in New York City Less Likely to be Approved For Relief from Deportation, at Least So Far


New York City is running a below average approval rate for undocumented immigrants seeking relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to a report from a Brookings Institution researcher.

While New York City was the site of more than 44,000 applications — second only to Los Angeles, and accounting for 8 percent of all applications nationwide — it had only an 84 percent approval rate, below the 89 percent national average.

The DACA program was created by the Obama Administration in 2012 as an alternative to the DREAM Act, the perennially stalled federal legislation that would prevent the deportation of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.

Under the DACA stopgap, immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before their sixteenth birthday are permitted to apply for a stay of deportation, giving them temporary legal status, with a few conditions; they must be below 31 years of age at the time of application, and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years; must be enrolled in school, have a high school diploma or be an honorably discharged veteran; and must not have been convicted of a felony or multiple serious misdemeanors. Estimates are that at least 800,000 immigrants were eligible to apply.

The approval numbers this time are considerably higher than a previous Brookings report from last year, which found a 72 percent approval rate. In both instances, researchers noted that the numbers included those applications that are still pending, which means they may be revised later.

The DREAM act has been introduced in congress every year since 2001. Supporters say that undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children — not having much say in the matter — shouldn’t be penalized for their status. Critics say the law would reward lawbreaking.

The Obama administration’s decision in 2012, which essentially enacted many of the provisions of the DREAM act through an administrative directive, caused a significant amount of outrage in conservative circles.

See a video of Brookings researcher Audrey Singer’s presentation on the following page.

[Update: 7:13 p.m.: Inserted video previously omitted.]