Since this past August when applications began to be accepted, many undocumented immigrants throughout the nation, including in Miami, have applied for deferred action under the Executive Order issued by President Obama. Thus far, a total of 309,000 have applied for the deportation protection and 53,000 have obtained approval. The number of applicants is much lower than the Migration Policy Institute estimated would apply. About 75 percent lower to be exact. It estimates that 1.26 million people are eligible for the protection.
The trend is similar in the state of Florida. Here the number of applicants is around 15,000, many fewer than were expected. All told, the Migration Policy Institute estimated that 100,000 individuals in the state could take advantage of the program.
The program is designed to allow young undocumented immigrants who do not pose a security threat to remain in the country. Individuals who are eligible to seek protection under the program must be under the age of 30 and have entered the country before the age of 16. In addition, applicants must have continuously lived in the United States for five years and either be in school or a high school graduate. As an alternative, military service or a high-school-equivalency diploma are also acceptable. Lastly, the individual must not have a criminal record.
One reason offered for the surprising low numbers of applicants is the recent presidential election. While Obama's challenger indicated that if elected, he would not deport anyone approved under the program, no one else would receive approval. This possibility likely led many potential applicants to decide to wait to apply. Now that election is over and Obama has been re-elected, it is very possible that the number of applicants will grow.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, "About 15,000 young immigrants in Florida apply to avoid deportation," Eloísa Ruano González, Dec. 4, 2012
Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Miami immigration law page.