U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released new statistics for the Obama administration's deferred action program that suggest the DREAM Act alternative program for childhood arrivals is picking up steam.
As of Nov. 15, USCIS had received 308,935 applications and approved 53,273 since the program began in August. The government says it's getting an average of 4,827 applications per day from young immigrants, and that number could go higher with President Obama's reelection which ensures the program will continue for four more years.
Overall, the government has rejected 10,101 applications, with 124,573 currently under review. Immigrant advocates believe more than 1.5 million illegal immigrants who entered the country as children could become eligible to avoid deportation under the program.
The USCIS says Mexico is the leading country of origin for applicants with 212,514, followed by El Salvador (13,769) Honduras (8,577), Guatemala (7,630), South Korea (4,880) and Brazil (4,345).
California has been the top state for applications with 81,858, followed by Texas (47,727), New York (19,320), Florida (15,318) and Illinois (13,904).
To apply, immigrants must be between 15 and 30 years old. They must clear a criminal background check and pay about $465 in fees to get a two-year exemption from deportation to work or study in the country.