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Kenneth Palinkas, chief of the USCIS Council, the union that represents the employees reviewing and approving the applications, said approving nearly 99 percent of applications is “an astronomical rate.”

“If 99 percent are being granted, it’s almost like, ‘Why are they even being adjudicated?’” he told The Washington Times, adding that agency employees are pressed to try to grant approvals rather than denials. “It doesn’t really ask for much information, and the feedback I’m getting from officers is that if you’re going to deny any of those cases they put you through loops to try to discourage it.”

Unlike the 1986 amnesty, USCIS employees aren’t required to hold in-person interviews for DACA applicants, which Mr. Palinkas said makes it tougher to weed out bad cases.

Likewise, the Senate immigration bill wouldn’t require in-person interviews for most of the 11 million seeking a full pathway to citizenship — one reason Mr. Palinkas’ group opposes that bill.

Administration officials have said they expect the DACA approval rate to fall as fewer applications are filed, and as denials, which take longer to process, work their way through the system. In June alone, the approval rate dropped to less than 96 percent.

‘A pretty big decision’

Behind the numbers are case stories about those who have come forward.

The vast majority — more than 75 percent — are from Mexico, with El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala far distant. Some who were among the earliest to sign up became coordinators helping others with their applications.

Early this year, Mr. Gutierrez hired one DACA recipient, Jose Quintero, to do his DACA casework. Mr. Quintero just left to attend architecture school in Chicago, but Mr. Gutierrez said he has hired Nancy Onofre, another DACA recipient, to help process 80 to 100 applications in the office each month.

About half of the people who are eligible have applied, according to the latest estimates from the Migration Policy Institute, though the group noted that it’s still a higher rate than the 1986 amnesty signed into law by President Reagan, which approved about 20 percent of likely eligible applicants at the same time in its life cycle.

Dream organizers said many are wrestling with the decision.

“My experience with the Dream movement and Dreamers is that for each and every person the process of coming forward and coming out has been a deeply personal one that they’ve needed to really deal with,” Mr. Luna said.

“There are even some folks within the movement whose parents are uncomfortable with them coming forward,” he said. “So this is a pretty big decision.”

Potential fraud

Some numbers about the program are hard to come by. The Homeland Security Department, which oversees USCIS, declined a request from The Washington Times for more details about who is being approved.

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