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Arizona Has Highest Percentage of DACA Applicants

Melanie Reyes/The New York Immigration Coalition

A new report today shows a higher percentage of eligible Arizonans have applied for deferred action than any other state. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The study finds about 52 percent of the 1.2 million people who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals have sought the permission it provides for those who came here illegally to remain and work. But in Arizona, 23,000 have applied, a 66 percent rate. Sarah Hooker of the Migration Policy Institute said some of that is due to outreach by Spanish-language media informing people of the option to stay. But, Hooker said there also is a stick that goes with that carrot.

“Part of it is probably the amount of immigration enforcement and climate of immigration policy and politics in the state. When you’re in a state that has more active immigration enforcement, and more, perhaps, restrictive laws and policies, there might be a stronger motivation to go and get this protection,” Hooker said.

Arizona has been at the forefront of efforts aimed at those not in the country legally. That includes laws to punish employers who hire those without documents and legislation that requires police to question those they have stopped about their immigration status if there is reason to believe they are in the country illegally. And the report comes in the middle of a gubernatorial race where all six Republican candidates, to one degree or another, have said more needs to be done about the issue.