WASHINGTON — Protection from deportation and work permission expired on Oct. 5 for about 21,000 of 154,000 young immigrants who were eligible to renew the Obama-era immigration program commonly known as DACA.
The Department of Homeland Security said about 133,000 young immigrants signed up again for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections by the deadline imposed by the Trump administration at the start of the month.
Trump has set March 5, 2018, as the end date for DACA. He has challenged Congress to pass legislation that determines the futures of young immigrants who were not born here but have grown up in the country — many brought by parents who arrived or stayed here illegally.
The DACA program has rolling expiration dates that come up two years after the young person's status becomes effective, so Trump set the Oct. 5 renewal deadline for people whose DACA was due to expire between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018.
Figures were not immediately available on how the approximately 86 percent renewal rate compares to past renewals.
Some immigration advocacy groups say the Department of Homeland Security did not do enough to urge people to renew by the deadline. The program requires a number of documents be provided for renewals and in some cases the advice of lawyers. Renewal costs close to $500. A number of immigration and other groups offered grants or low-interest loans to DACA recipients to pay the fee.
DHS spokesman David Lapan said Thursday that everyone in the DACA program is told of the need to file a renewal application at least 120 days before their status expires.
Last year, the Migration Policy Institute estimated 93 percent of all eligible DACA recipients renewed their DACA.
Lapan emphasized that if Congress fails to act in time and the DACA program ends as planned, DHS will not use its DACA database to start deporting young people.
"Our immigration enforcement priorities have not changed," he said. "We are not going to proactively go after individuals whose DACA status expires."