About one-third of the 154,200 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients whose two-year permits are set to expire before the program's March end date have not applied to renew their work authorizations and legal protections, according to new Department of Homeland Security data released Tuesday.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has approved or is currently considering renewal applications from more than 106,000 DACA recipients whose status expires between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018. Approximately 48,000 people have not yet applied.
The Trump administration is asking those protected by the Obama-era program to take action by Oct. 5.
"For individuals who are still eligible to request renewal of their deferred action under DACA, but have not yet done so, I urge you to make this a priority. The renewal process is quicker than an initial request and requires minimal documentation, so take the time now to fill out and properly file your renewal request," acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke said in a statement Tuesday.
Duke said she has asked USCIS to consider DACA requests from people in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on a case-by-case basis due to complications following Hurricane Maria.
"As of today, fewer than 20 current recipients from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have yet to renew with USCIS," Duke said.
The administration announced in early September that DACA, which benefits 800,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors and lets them work in the U.S., will be rescinded by March 5, 2018. Those protections will start to end for people depending on when their current DACA protections are due to lapse unless Congress acts to restore elements of the program that President Obama created through an executive action.
If the DACA renewal applications are approved, they will receive a two-year extension from the date of approval even though the program is slated to end next spring. However, there are no guarantees these reapplications will be granted.
A group of 10 state attorneys general threatened in June to sue the Trump administration if it did not rescind DACA by Sept. 5.