Arizona ranks nationally as one of the top 10 states that approve of young applicants seeking deferred deportation under President Obama’s DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). The state ranks sixth in the nation for the number of applicants that have been approved under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Effective immediately on June 15, 2012, when the president announced the DREAM Act and changes in immigration policy, the administration ceased deportation of young individuals who meet certain criteria. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services outlined a process to grant deferred action and grant work permits to DREAMers who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. Under the administration plan, DREAMers are granted DACA if the following criteria apply to them: – They were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 – They are younger than 30 years old – They have been in the country for at least 5 continuous years – They have no criminal history – They graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED Certificate, or served in the military From August 2012 to August 2013, a total of 567,563 applicants were approved for the DACA program. Less than 5 percent of applicants were rejected. In Arizona alone, 20,252 applicants were accepted, and 16,733 of those were approved. Arizona joins in the top 10 ranking for DACA approvals with California, Texas, Illinois, New York, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey and Colorado. Six of the states in the top 10 states with DACA approvals were represented on the bipartisan Gang of Eight, the group that wrote the Senate-passed immigration bill that provides for amnesty and a path to citizenship. In this group was U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The largest country of origin for DACA applicants is Mexico, followed by El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and South Korea. For more information about the DREAM Act and the DACA program, contact a Phoenix immigration attorney at Maria Jones Law Firm. Image via: