Mapping DACA Renewals

By Tom K. Wong, Ph.D., tomkwong@ucsd.edu, @twong002

PDF of report here

DACA: 2 Years Later 

According to the latest figures released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), over half a million (521,815) undocumented youth have received temporary relief from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The first DACA applications were submitted on August 15, 2012 and USCIS started approving applications a month later.

DACA is a temporary two-year status, which means that 2014 is the first year that “DACAmented” youth will have to renew their status. USCIS, immigrant-serving organizations, and other stakeholders across the country are already deep in planning and preparing for the renewal process. Will the renewal process mirror the initial success of DACA? To what extent will the costs associated with renewing deter individuals from reapplying? Should we even expect all “DACAmented” youth to reapply These are just some of the questions that loom over the renewal process.

In an effort to inform outreach efforts, this report uses data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to identify and map where the first wave of DACA renewals are likely to be concentrated.

The Data

The FOIA data analyzed here are the first 146,313 applications submitted to USCIS from August 15, 2012 to September 30, 2012. While it has been 18 months since USCIS began accepting applications, nearly one-quarter of all DACA applications submitted to date were submitted during this time period. Moreover, state-level trends in DACA applications during the first months of the program, with some exceptions, largely mirror current trends.

The data can thus speak to the first wave of DACA renewals and are also informative when it comes to evaluating DACA on the whole. Identifying where DACA renewals are likely to be concentrated is no easy task, as DACA applicants are spread widely across the country. For example, 10,678 zip codes and 1,922 counties are represented in the first 146,313 applications alone. However, there are only 148 counties that are home to between 100 and 449 applicants among the first 146,313 applicants, 33 counties that are home to between 500 and 999 applicants, and 21 counties that are home to more than 1,000. Indeed, the finer-grained the data are, the more leverage we have in identifying DACA renewal “hotspots.”

I note here that complementing this analysis with analysis of where large numbers of estimated DACA-eligible youth have yet to apply at the county- or city-level would add much needed depth to our understanding of the program. However, data limitations currently do not permit this. I refer readers to Wong et al. (2013), which identifies the under-representation of DACA-eligible youth at the state level.

Results

This report identifies and maps DACA renewal “hotspots” across the country. This includes:

1. A map of DACA applications by county for all counties in the U.S. (see Figure 1).

2. County-level maps for California, Texas, New York, Florida, and New Jersey, which represent the top 5 states of residence for DACA applicants during the initial months of the program (Illinois has since supplanted New Jersey in the top 5; see Figures 2 to 6).

3. Zip-code level maps for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the New York metropolitan area, the greater Houston area, the greater Chicago area, and the Riverside-San Bernardino metropolitan area. These places represent the top 5 metropolitan areas of residence for DACA applicants during the initial months of the program (see Figures 7 to 11).

 

 

Figure 1: Number of DACA Applicants by County for All Counties, 8/15/12 – 9/30/12

Contact author for tabulations

 

 

Figure 2: DACA Applications by County, California (37,797 applications), 8/15/12 – 9/30/12

Contact author for county-by-county and zip code breakdown

 

 

Figure 3: DACA Applications by County, Texas (22,330 applications), 8/15/12 – 9/30/12

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Figure 4: DACA Applications by County, New York (11,570 applications), 8/15/12 -9/30/12

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Figure 5: DACA Applications by County, Florida (9,049 applications), 8/15/12 – 9/30/12

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Figure 6: DACA Applications by County, New Jersey (6,484 applications), 8/15/12 – 9/30/12

 

Contact author for county-by-county and zip code breakdown

 

 

Figure 7: DACA Applications by Zip Code, Greater Los Angeles Area

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Figure 8: DACA Applications by Zip Code, New York Metro Area

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Figure 9: DACA Applications by Zip Code, Greater Houston Area

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Figure 10: DACA Applications by Zip Code, Greater Chicago Area

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Figure 11: DACA Applications by Zip Code, Riverside-San Bernardino MSA

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