It has already been one year since President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This program makes it possible for immigrants who are 31-years and younger in Los Angeles and the rest of the country who came here illegally as children to apply to live and work in the country legally.

Although 1.09 million people in the country qualify for the immigration program, just under half of those eligible have taken advantage of it, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Experts believe that the reason so many have not applied may have something to do with the fees involved. Many immigrants who qualify for the program come from low-income families where the $465 fee can seem impossible to afford. Others may not have applied yet because they are saving up before they can pay the fee.

Experts also believe that immigrants may misunderstand how the program works. They may have the misconception that immigration authorities will use their information in order to find their family members who do not qualify for deferral and who are living in the country illegally.

The approval rate for the program is quite high; currently, only 1% of all applicants have been denied. If you are interested in the program and wonder if you qualify, you may wish to speak with an immigration attorney. An attorney can advise you on the requirements of the program and what you need to do to submit an application. This can be especially helpful if your case may be a little more complicated than usual.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Half of eligible immigrants sign up for deferred deportation program,” Cindy Carcamo, Aug. 14, 2013