Tens of thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, recipients are at risk of missing their immigration status renewal deadline on October 5.
Although the Trump administration announced a month ago that those affected would be able to extend for a period of two years until March 5 on paper, in practice, they have to submit their applications for renewed authorization by Thursday at the latest.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, said 111,565 of the eligible 154,000 people have sent in their forms.
But 42,500 applications are yet to arrive with just one day left.
"We had to hit the red-alert panic button," Josh Hoyt of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told Vox News.
Advocates say that one month is not enough time to inform all people about the procedures of the application and many might not even be aware of the latest government decision over the issue.
"It takes a month just to get the word out and [the administration] gave DREAMers, just a month to apply,” Mission Asset Fund CEO José Quiñonez told Splinter News. "A lot of people just don’t know they’re eligible to apply."
"They intentionally wanted people to not apply because of the timing and we’re seeing that play out," Quinonez added.
Mission Asset Fund, a San Francisco-based social financer group, has raised US$3.8 million to cover DACA fees for the applications which cost US$495. Quinonez said the money could be one of the major reasons for the applicants not being able to apply for a renewed protection status.
"I just don’t want money to be an excuse for people not applying," Ivan Ceja, co-founder of UndocuMedia, a website that solely caters to immigration-related news, told Splinter News.
Ceja along with other immigration organizations also organized fundraisers to help raise money for recipients who cannot afford the renewal application fee.
However, the USCIS responded to Quinonez's comment and said his "claim is without merit."
"The Acting Secretary’s decision was to responsibly wind down the program to give Congress time to pass legislation and the wind down gave eligible individuals four weeks to apply for renewal," the USCIS added.
The Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said she was reviewing DACA cases from Puerto Rico and U.S Virgin Islands "on a case-by-case basis." So far, the U.S. agency has received less than 20 applications from the hurricane-struck regions.
Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina, said the U.S. government will prioritize tax reform before they get to the DACA issue in March as they consider tax reform a more "substantial legislation."
"I think if the very first thing we do substantially on legislation is DACA, that makes it extremely difficult for the Trump voter," he said in a statement on Tuesday.