4,500 undocumented immigrants spared deportation

Young immigrants, along with members of local immigrant organizations, line up for guidance for a new federal program, called Deferred Action, that would help them avoid deportation Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, in Phoenix. The new nationwide program, which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting those applications today, will allow young immigrants to get work permits but not a path to citizenship. The idea was to stop deporting many illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

WASHINGTON More than 4,500 young undocumented individuals have been approved to stay and work in the U.S. due to an Obama administration program.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Friday about 180,000 people have applied for the administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program announced this summer. As of Wednesday, 4,591 applications had been approved. Those people will also get permission to work.

To date, no applications have been rejected but Homeland Security officials said it could take at least two months after an application is received for it to be declined. If more information is need from an applicant, the process could take even longer.

In order to qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the person must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 and must have come to the U.S. before they turned 16. They also must have lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 until the present date and have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time they are making their petition.

The individuals under consideration must have entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or had their immigration status expire as of June 15, 2012.

They also must be currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have a general education development (GED) certificate or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.

Applicants cannot have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, and they do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The government started accepting applications on Aug. 15 and it had been expected that final decisions could take several months. DHS has said the time to approve applications is expected to slow in coming months.