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Immigrants with deportation protection can apply for extension

Published:Friday | June 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP):

Young immigrants who have won US government protection from deportation can apply for another two years of safety.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will start taking renewal applications from the more than half-million immigrants already enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, starting immediately.

Renewal applications are being sought now to ensure that immigrants already in the programme don't fall out of status, Alejandro Mayorkas, the deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, said Wednesday. Renewals, like new applications, carry a US$465 fee. The programme remains open for first-time applicants.

560,000 offered legal stay

DACA, as the programme has come to be known in immigration circles, was launched in advance of the 2012 presidential elections and the first applications were approved in September of that year. Since then, more than 560,000 immigrants who arrived in the United States as children but didn't have legal status have been given permission to legally stay for two years.

Mayorkas announced the renewal programme in the middle of President Barack Obama's latest push to get Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration bill in advance of November's midterm elections. Last month, the White House announced that a Homeland Security-led review of deportation policies would be put on hold until the end of the summer.

The delay is aimed at giving Congress time to act on immigration before the August recess.