“I’ve seen an increase in three ways,” says Jose Peñalosa, an immigration lawyer in Phoenix and a worker for No Dream Deferred. “In my office and through the increase volume of phone calls. Secondly, with the numbers of attendees to workshops on filling out paperwork for the application and lastly with the activity and comments on Facebook and Twitter. People are waking up and saying I’m going to do this now.”
According to Peñalosa, many of those interested in applying for DACA were hesitant in fear of a Mitt Romney presidency, which lowered the number of applications. Romney was once quoted saying that he would veto legislation to provide a path to citizenship for those who benefit from Obama’s new policy, but went back on his statement promptly, saying that he would honor temporary work permits.
“A lot of Dreamers had doubts about applying for DACA, mostly because they didn’t know if Romney would take it away,” says Erika Andiola, an activist for undocumented youth and an applicant for deferred action.
As of November 15th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a report that shows that out of 308,935 applications received, 298,834 have been accepted and 53,273 have been approved since the program began in August. The report also shows that Mexico is the leading country of origin for applicants, with California being the top state for applicants.
“This is a very huge thing for the work that we’ve been doing as Dreamers,” says Cristina Jimenez, Co-Founder of United We Dream. “One of the key things for us that was very clear as a result from the election is that our work in winning deferred action for Dreamers was a key—I would say the key—motivator for getting Latinos and other immigrant voters out to the polls.”
This article was first published in Latinovations.[Photo by paulinaclemente]