A Center for Immigration Studies' report released today shows that the Obama administration has prioritized the processing of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program applications by pulling resources away from processing select legal immigration applications.

The CIS report was based on a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) document that was given to the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to the report, certain immigrants, including illegal aliens under DACA, are receiving "special emphasis" as the agency is "experiencing a workload increase."

According to a chart from the document these immigrants include:

  • Employers asking for temporary workers (with or without paying the premium processing fee)
  • Applicants for Advance Parole (a travel document only needed by illegal aliens with temporary status)
  • Refugees needing a travel document
  • Employers sponsoring immigrant workers
  • U.S. parents adopting children from overseas
  • Applicants for work permits (DACA applicants, illegal aliens, and temporary visitors)
  • Military naturalization applicants

The report also states that while such immigrant applications are granted special emphasis, others are experiencing longer wait times.

They included all family-based immigrant petitions and applications, refugee and asylee green cards, relatives of refugees and asylees, applicants for temporary protected status, victims of human trafficking, crime victims, immigrants seeking to naturalize, and anyone needing a replacement document.

According to the report's author, CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan, these delays due to DACA "have been hugely disruptive."

The DACA program was chugging along, approving approximately 40,000 applications per month, with typical waiting times of two to four months. In 2013 alone USCIS processed more than 480,000 DACA applications.

The delays for hundreds of thousands of family-based legal immigrants and other types of applicants caused by the president's amnesty for the Dreamers have been hugely disruptive to some lives. For family-based applicants, their lives are on hold while waiting for USCIS to get to their cases. For naturalization applicants, it could mean losing out on the opportunity to vote.

Read the full CIS report

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Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:27pm EDT