The Obama administration has received an estimated 72,000 Deferred Action applications from young undocumented immigrants seeking to avoid deportation and get a work permit since the program started Aug. 15. The Homeland Security Department said Tuesday that a "small group" of applications has been approved and those immigrants are being notified this week about the decision, according to the Associated Press.
"Following a thorough, individualized case review, USCIS has now begun notifying individuals of the determination on their deferral requests," DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said in a statement to the AP. He said about 72,000 applications have been received since the program's Aug. 15 start.
The department would not provide a specific number of just how many applications were approved.
In order to be granted the two-year protection from deportation, young undocumented immigrants have to pay a $465 application fee, pass background checks and offer up biometric data, as well as clear other paperwork hurdles.
DHS told the AP "background checks, including finger prints checks, are being conducted on each immigrant before an application can be approved." The average wait time for approval is expected to be about four months to six months.
"President Obama's announcement brings peace and relief to many DREAMers," Lorella Praeli, a member of the United We Dream network, told Colorlines.com last month. "It is one step in the right direction after years of work that will allow students to apply their professional degrees and know that they need not fear deportation, that they will be able to continue living as Americans in the only country they call home."
ICE has pledged to keep the information that DREAMers provide in their applications confidential and away from the enforcement side of the Department of Homeland Security unless the applicant commits fraud by lying on their applications, or if applicants have serious criminal records.