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Nevada among states with highest DACA sign-up

Nevada News Service

Nevada is among the states leading the nation for its high percentage of applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or "DACA" program, which provides temporary legal status for some undocumented immigrants. Reno Public Radio's Esther Ciammachilli has more.

Jeanne Batalova is with the Migration Policy Institute, the group that studied DACA two years after its launch. She says more than half of the 17-thousand people eligible in Nevada have applied for the program and most have been approved.

"Between August 15th, 2012, and March 31st, 2014, 11,000 applications for DACA from Nevada were accepted by the government – and of them, 9,000 were approved."

President Barack Obama created the program by executive order in 2012, allowing some undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to get a driver's license and become eligible for employment if they meet certain requirements.

Those include being in the U.S. since before age 16, having no criminal history, and being currently enrolled in school or having graduated high school.

Arizona leads the nation in DACA sign-ups, followed by Texas. Nevada and Colorado are tied for third place.

Nationally, Batalova says more than half a million people have been accepted for the program, which was meant to help young people who were brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own.

"DACA is specifically for children who were brought to the United States by their parents and made this transition, made this migration, without contributing to the decision. So, not of will of their own."

The Migration Policy Institute estimates more than one-point-six million people in the U-S are potentially eligible for DACA status.

Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.