The administration has issued stays of deportation for 102,965 illegal immigrants under President Obama’s new non-deportation policy, officials announced Friday.
Another 157,151 applications are still under review under the policy, officially known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which grants a tentative legal status to illegal immigrants who qualify — though it does not grant them a path to citizenship.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Homeland Security branch that administers the program, said 12,014 applications were rejected off the bat, while as many as 177,000 more applications are having their biometric data taken before entering the final review.
Mr. Obama announced the policy in June, saying he would no longer deport illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children as long as they haven’t committed any major crimes.
Mexicans make up the vast majority of applications, topping 70 percent of those submitted. Next highest is El Salvador with less than 5 percent. South Korea has the largest contingent from outside Latin America at less than 2 percent.
The pace of applications has dropped off from a peak in September and October, when more than 5,000 were applying each day, to about 2,700 a day in December.
The slower pace has worried immigrant-rights advocates, who had predicted that more than 1 million could qualify for the program. They had thought some were waiting until after the election to see whether Mr. Obama would be re-elected or whether Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who took a harder line on illegal immigration, would win the White House.
Mr. Obama’s program offers a two-year stay of deportation and a work permit so those who are granted tentative legal status can get jobs. The stay of deportation can be renewed indefinitely.
The program does not offer a pathway to citizenship. The president said that will be up to Congress to enact as part of a broader immigration bill.