New USCIS Data Show How DACA Delays Decisions in Other Programs

By David North, December 6, 2012

USCIS statistics released Wednesday reveal how seriously the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty has slowed work on all other agency programs.

That analysis does not come from the agency, but a simple review of the numbers shows the negative impact of the new caseload on the continuing work of USCIS. Apparently the agency has not added enough additional staff to cope with all the young people, primarily from Mexico, who entered the nation illegally before the age of 16, and who now want the short-term legal status offered by that program.

Here are the basic numbers:

  • Total DACA applications received (August 15 - October 31, 2012): 263,663
  • Increase in USCIS backlog (October 31, 2011, to October 31, 2012): 391,708

The organization issued two separate documents on these caseloads and made no attempt to compare the large number of amnesty applications with the increased number of pending cases (i.e., the backlog). The Center for Immigration Studies calculated the numbers above from raw data provided by USCIS.

The data indicate that USCIS was carrying, as of November 1, more than 2.2 million cases as "pending" and that the new DACA program contributed about two-thirds of the year-to-year pending increase of close to 400,000 cases. DACA did not exist during 2011.

Citizens desiring to bring in their alien spouses and U.S. employers wanting to import foreign workers are just two of the many groups that are indirectly impacted by the new DACA/DREAM program. There is no way of knowing how much extra waiting time has been created in these non-DACA categories from currently available information, but it must be substantial.

The DACA data can be seen here and the agency-wide data for immigration benefits of all kinds is here.