This CBO report, a copy of which I have attached, interesting and a useful compendium of data. But note: the devil, as always, is in the details. Here, notwithstanding the note that DACA (and future DAPA) recipients are lawfully present, they are counted here as “unauthorized.” This is an odd amalgamation and counting convention, as on p. 6, the Report categorizes “noncitizens” by using these descriptors:

Over 41 million foreign-born people lived in the United States in 2012, making up about 13 percent of the 314 million U.S. residents that year—the largest share since 1920. Of that foreign-born population, 19 million were naturalized citizens (foreign-born people who have fulfilled the requirements of U.S. citizenship). Twenty two million were noncitizens (a category that includes foreign-born people authorized to be in the United States, either on a temporary or permanent basis, as well as people who are not authorized to be in the United States).

Of course, the large number of Deferred Action recipients has redefined the original parameters of that category, which before 2012, was given sparingly. Even so, we have to be careful about counting and nomenclature. Almost every day, I write a reporter or scholar or legislative staff to remind them that DACA recipients—as lawfully present noncitizens—are NOT unauthorized or undocumented—in today’s new world, they are DACAmented (Some of the people I am pushing will no doubt start pushing back with this CBO misclassification.) I also point out regularly that the various executive actions and prosecutorial discretion undertaken by the President are NOT executive orders.

Michael A. Olivas


Box 1.
Unauthorized Residents and Deferred Action
In some cases, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) delays removal proceedings for unauthorized residents under a process known as deferred action. Those who are approved for deferred action are considered lawfully present in the country but do  not gain legal status. They can, and most do, receive authorization to work. Because they are lawfully present during the period of their deferred status, they  are eligible to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits if they meet the programs’ requirements. In addition, those individuals who are approved for deferred action and receive work authorization have Social Security numbers and therefore can claim the earned income tax credit if they qualify. They are ineligible for other federal benefit programs.

Childhood Arrivals. In August 2012, DHS began accepting and processing applications for deferred action from some unauthorized residents who did not yet have removal proceedings initiated against them. To qualify for this program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, people had to meet several requirements: they must have been under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012; been younger than 16 when they came to the United States; continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007; been registered in and attending school, or have graduated from high school or earned a GED; or had been honorably discharged from the military. Deferred action was granted for two years and could be renewed. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that about 2.1 million unauthorized residents may be eligible for DACA as implemented since 2012.1 As of September 30, 2014, DHS had received about 700,000 initial applications and approved about 630,000 requests, including about 22,000 renewals of status.2

1.   Jeanne Batalova, Sarah Hooker, and Randy Capps, DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action (Migration Policy Institute,  August  2014),  (PDF, 4.92 MB).

On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of changes to immigration policy, including expanding DACA.3 That executive action expands the DACA population in two ways. It allows people who are 31 years and older and arrived in the United States as children, and unauthorized residents who meet the other DACA requirements but who arrived between June 15, 2007, and January 1, 2010, to apply for deferred action. Those two groups were excluded from the original DACA program. In addition, the November action extended the duration of deferred action from two years under previous Administration policy to three years.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that as a result of the expanded eligibility for DACA, an additional 150,000 unauthorized residents will be approved for deferred action through 2017.

Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. The executive actions announced on November 20, 2014, also allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for deferred action if they meet the following criteria: they have been continuously present in the country since January 1, 2010; were physically present in the country on November 20, 2014, and at the time of application; had no legal status on November 20, 2014; and are not an enforcement priority for DHS. CBO estimates that about 1.5 million parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents will be approved for deferred action by 2017 under this new policy.

  1. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics, and Case Status, 2012 to 2014” (November 21, 2014),

(PDF, 131 KB).

  1. Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, memorandum about exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children and with respect to certain individuals who are the parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents (November 20, 2014), (PDF, 3 MB).