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The DREAM Act

How DACA is Impacting the Lives of Those Who are Now DACAmented

Preliminary Findings from the National UnDACAmented Research Project

by Roberto G. Gonzales, Harvard Graduate School of Education

and Veronica Terriquez, University of Southern California

As Congress continues to debate immigration reform, August 15th marks the one-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. While not granting a path to legalization and citizenship, DACA provides an opportunity for a segment of the undocumented immigrant population to remain in the country without fear of deportation, allows them to apply for work permits, and increases their opportunities for economic and social incorporation. This research summary presents preliminary findings on the impact that DACA has had on some of the young people who have received it.

We find that the DACA recipients we surveyed experienced a pronounced increase in economic opportunities, such as getting a new job, opening their first bank account, and obtaining their first credit card. Many seek further social integration beyond DACA. In fact, almost all DACA recipients indicate that they would apply for U.S. citizenship if given the opportunity. Our study also shows that DACA recipients are often fearful that family members and friends could be deported at any time. Overall, our research indicates that although DACA opens up some economic opportunities for young aspiring Americans, it does not address the constant threat of deportation still facing those closest to them, including mothers, fathers, and siblings.Read more...

Published On: Thu, Aug 15, 2013 | Download File

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: A Resource Page

In June of 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would accept requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an initiative designed to temporarily suspend the deportation of young people residing unlawfully in the U.S who were brought to the United States as children, meet certain education requirements and generally match the criteria established under legislative proposals like the DREAM Act.   The implementation of the program is being carefully monitored by the Immigration Policy Center. This resource page collects IPC, government, and other publications relating solely to DACA.Read more...

Published On: Thu, Oct 25, 2012

Who and Where the DREAMers Are, Revised Estimates

There are roughly 1.8 million immigrants in the United States who might be, or might become, eligible for the Obama Administration’s “deferred action” initiative for unauthorized youth brought to this country as children. This initiative, announced on June 15, offers a two-year, renewable reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have lived continuously in the country for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military. Within this population of potential beneficiaries, however, are three distinct groups:

1.)   Those who are between the ages of 15 and 30 who are either in high school or already have high school diplomas. This group is immediately eligible for deferred action.

2.)   Those between the ages of 5 and 14 who will be eligible at some point in the future if the deferred action initiative remains in place.

3.)   Those between the ages of 15 and 30 who are not in high school and don’t have high school diplomas. Members of this group might be eligible for deferred action if they get a GED.

A previous IPC analysis described in detail the demographic characteristics of the first two of these groups of potential beneficiaries. This analysis captures the third group as well. More precisely, potential beneficiaries are broken down by age, gender, and nationality at the state and national level. In reviewing these numbers, it is important to keep in mind that they are approximations and not precise figures.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Oct 16, 2012 | Download File

Who and Where the DREAMers Are

A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Initiative.

Note: A more up-to-date version of this publication is available here.

A new analysis casts some much-needed light on the question of exactly who might be eligible for the Obama Administration’s “deferred action” initiative for unauthorized youth who were brought to this country as children. This initiative, announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on June 15, offers a two-year, renewable reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have lived continuously in the country for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military. Immigrants who meet these criteria are commonly referred to as “DREAMers” because they comprise most (though not all) of the individuals who meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.Read more...

Published On: Sat, Aug 18, 2012 | Download File

Economic Benefits of Granting Deferred Action to Unauthorized Immigrants Brought to U.S. as Youth

There are an estimated 1.4 million children and young adults in the United States who might benefit from President Obama’s announcement that the Department of Homeland Security would begin granting deferred action (and Employment Authorization Documents) to unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors. For many of these young people, the United States is the only home they know and English is their first language. Each year, tens of thousands of them graduate from primary or secondary school, often at the top of their classes. They have the potential to be future doctors, nurses, teachers, and entrepreneurs, but their lack of legal status has prevented them from attending college or working legally. The President’s deferred action initiative will provide an opportunity for them to live up to their full potential and, in the process, make greater contributions to the U.S. economy. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 | Download File

A Comparison of the DREAM Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth

Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools. While many hope to pursue higher education, join the military, or enter the workforce, their lack of legal status places those dreams in jeopardy and exposes them to deportation. Over the last decade, there has been growing bipartisan consensus that Congress should provide legal immigration status for young adults who came to the country as children and graduated from American high schools. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jun 05, 2012 | Download File

Scholars United Behind DREAM Act

Washington D.C. - Last week, more than fifty leading university professors urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act, noting that both their academic research and their work as teachers compelled them to speak out on behalf of the undocumented students whose future hangs in the balance over today's vote. Today, nearly 400 scholars from across the U.S. (including all 8 Ivy Leagues) have signed onto the letter. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 | Download File

Investing in the American DREAM

By Roberto G. Gonzales Ph.D.

Each year, tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant students graduate from American high schools and embark on uncertain futures.  Their inability to legally work and receive financial aid stalls, detours, and derails their educational and economic trajectories.  Most importantly, at any time, they can be deported to countries they barely know.  The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a federal bill aimed at providing immigration relief to these young people.  The passage of this bill would grant many undocumented youth access to legal residency and federal financial aid—thus removing legal and economic barriers to higher education and increasing their contributions to America and the likelihood of upward mobility.

Published On: Thu, Dec 02, 2010 | Download File

Dispelling DREAM Act Myths

The DREAM Act—a popular proposal to provide legal status to undocumented youth who entered the U.S. as children, graduated from U.S. high schools, and attend college or enter the military—is the target of a smear campaign from anti-immigration hardliners.  According to them, passage of the DREAM Act would cheat native-born students out of opportunities.  This tired effort to pit immigrants and native-born—whether they are workers or students—against one another is not only destructive, but has no basis in fact.  Moreover, it ignores the economic benefits that come from legalizing a group of talented, hard-working individuals who want nothing more than to contribute to America and repay the country for the opportunities they’ve been given. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Nov 23, 2010 | Download File

The DREAM Act: Creating Economic Opportunities

There are an estimated 1.9 million undocumented children and young adults in the United States who might be eligible for legal status under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) Act.  For many of these young people, the United States is the only home they know and English is their first language.  Each year, tens of thousands of them graduate from primary or secondary school, often at the top of their classes.  They have the potential to be future doctors, nurses, teachers, and entrepreneurs, but they experience unique hurdles to achieving success in this country.  Through no fault of their own, their lack of status may prevent them from attending college or working legally.  The DREAM Act would provide an opportunity for them to live up to their full potential and make greater contributions to the U.S. economy and society. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Nov 18, 2010 | Download File