At a clinic organized by SIM at North Shore Community College in Lynn, Mass., about 30 came for one-on-one legal advice on a recent Friday afternoon. "People are excited about the opportunities that this opens up, but a lot of people are really cautious," says Conrado Santos, a SIM coordinator wearing a T-shirt that declares "Education not Deportation."
One of the most common questions has been whether applicants or their family members might be targeted for deportation once the government has collected all their information. Both USCIS and advocacy groups have assured them that a DACA application would not in and of itself trigger such moves. Also, those over 18 don't have to identify parents on the application.
Despite the uncertainties, about 7 percent of those eligible applied for DACA in the first month, according to Lorella Praeli, the Washington-based policy coordinator for United We Dream, a network run by undocumented youths – compared with 3 percent who applied in the first month after Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, which granted amnesty to certain illegal immigrants.
As of Sept. 26, more than 1,600 DACA applications were ready for final review, and about 63,000 people had biometrics appointments scheduled, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official says.
Lopez has already completed her biometrics appointment, which she describes as a brief, easy process that includes answering some basic questions and having her photo and fingerprints taken.