Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Executive action: Of 466,000 LA County immigrants who could qualify, most are parents



This Aug. 15, 2012 file photo shows a huge crowd forming a line around the block from the office of The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) in California, on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. More than 460,000 immigrants in Los Angeles County could be eligible for temporary immigration relief under President Obama's executive order, according to a new estimate. But relatively few will be people eligible for an extended version of DACA; the bulk will be parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the country five years or more.
This Aug. 15, 2012 file photo shows a huge crowd forming a line around the block from the office of The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) in California, on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. More than 460,000 immigrants in Los Angeles County could be eligible for temporary immigration relief under President Obama's executive order, according to a new estimate. But relatively few will be people eligible for an extended version of DACA; the bulk will be parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the country five years or more.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

An estimated 466,000 Los Angeles County residents could be eligible for immigration relief under President Barack Obama's executive order, according to a new tally released Thursday. But relatively few will be immigrants who arrived as minors.

The vast majority of local immigrants seeking temporary relief from deportation will be the parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

The Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute estimates there are roughly 331,000 immigrants in L.A. County who fit the eligibility profile for what's become known as DAPA, for "Deferred Action for Parental Accountability.”

This type of relief applies to immigrants who are parents of citizens and legal residents, and who have lived in the United States five years or more.

But only an estimated 30,000 newly-eligible immigrants are expected to qualify locally for an extended version of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. That program now grants temporary protection to immigrants 30 and under who came to the U.S. before age 16; it's being expanded to include immigrants who arrived before age 16 regardless of how old they are now.

Altogether, DACA could apply to roughly 135,000 immigrants in L.A. County, including those eligible under the tighter rules from when the program began in 2012.

Not surprisingly, L.A. County has the largest number of eligible applicants for relief under the executive order. It's followed by Orange County, where about 109,000 immigrants could be eligible.

A whopping 48 percent of L.A. County's nearly 1 million immigrants without legal status could qualify for relief under Obama's plan, according to MPI's estimate. But it's not the largest share out there — in Imperial County, an estimated 64 percent of the roughly 15,000 immigrants without legal status who live there could be eligible to apply.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a Republican-backed measure that would do away with Obama's executive order and with the existing DACA program. The legislation faces slimmer prospects in the Senate, though, and the White House has threatened a veto.

Meanwhile, local community organizations and nonprofit legal service providers have been bracing themselves for an onslaught of applicants in the coming months.

No applications are available yet. But it's expected that the first wave of immigrants — people who arrived as minors — can begin applying for temporary relief in February, approximately 90 days from the president's Nov. 20 announcement. Applications for those applying for DAPA are expected to become available in May.