Opening a path to citizenship

Since President Obama signed an executive order allowing undocumented immigrants who were brought in as children to apply for temporary legal status, nearly 5,000 have been approved, and could eventually find a path to citizenship.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced the approved applications under the so-called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The USCIS said that since August when the final guidelines were approved, the agency has “accepted 179,794 requests for processing, and that 4,591 requests have been approved.

Another 426,000 age 15 and under could, too, if the program remains in place, according to the Immigration Policy Center. The states with the highest number of likely recipients are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois.

On June 15 this year, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the program, which was inspired by the “Dream Act,” a bipartisan legislation that has failed to pass the U.S. Congress.

The Development Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, was voted in 2007 and 2010, but failed to muster 60 votes, prompting Obama to issue the executive order.

With Latinos considered a key demographic in the 2012 election, both the Mitt Romney and Obama camps have used the “Dream Act,” or a version of it to their advantage.

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