Advocates say the volume of early applicants could depend on the horse-race polls. The initial wave is likely to be people who are just as interested in making a political statement — essentially daring Trump to deport them — as getting on firmer legal footing. Then there would be another lull until after the election, with applications picking up again only if Hillary Clinton wins.
“We’re hopeful that there’s something a little bit protective about large numbers of people applying for the program,” said Catholic Legal Immigration Network executive director Jeanne Atkinson.
Atkinson said she’s seeing signs that the specter of a Trump presidency is actually motivating people to register. During a recent call with affiliates around the Southeast, she said, “We were really surprised to find that there’s an uptick” in requests for help. “They want a document” in hand in case he comes into office, Atkinson said.