With just a few more hours remaining until immigration authorities stop accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, thousands of eligible illegal immigrants have yet to apply for an extension.
When the Trump administration announced last month that it would end DACA, program beneficiaries whose deferred status expired on or before March 5 were given until Oct. 5 to renew their status.
Of the approximately 154,000 DACA recipients who were eligible to apply for a two-year extension of their protections, about 42,500 had yet to do so as of Wednesday, according to Vox.
Implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, the DACA program gives certain illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a reprieve from deportation and the ability to apply for work permits. About 790,00 people have received protection under the program, which will officially end on March 6.
Immigrant advocates have criticized the Trump administration for setting what they see as an arbitrary deadline for DACA recipients to submit renewal applications. Democratic lawmakers, along with some Republican counterparts, have asked the Department of Homeland Security to push back the deadline, but Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke has not indicated she plans to grant a last-minute extension.
Activists have also accused DHS of misleading DACA recipients about how much time they would have to reapply. Before Sept. 5, some program beneficiaries received letters reminding them that they had 180 more days to renew their status, but DHS did not send out follow-up letters to warn those people that they would miss the Oct. 5 deadline if they waited that long.
However, DHS did issue a multiple reminders on its website about the impending deadline, while about 58,000 DACA recipients had applied for renewal before the administration announced it was ending the program.
In recent weeks, DACA recipients have rushed to submit applications before before the renewal period lapses. USCIS data shows that 6,000 applications came in between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2, and another 7,500 were submitted between Oct. 2 and 4, reports Vox.
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