New Study Shows DACA has Benefited Young Immigrants’ Lives and the Country, but the Supreme Court Could Change That

A new report conducted by the Immigration Initiative at Harvard University found that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has not only helped young immigrants and their families but the U.S economy, as well. What You Should Know

The study, entitled “The Long-Term Impact of DACA: Forging Futures Despite DACA’s Uncertainty,” followed 408 recipients of the DACA program since it started in 2012. The program is an administrative relief from deportation, and protects young immigrants who came to the U.S. when they were just children. It also provides them with work permits and licenses.

The latest report found that the program has not only helped DACA recipients and their families but has also benefited the U.S. economy. A study from September from the Center for American Progress found that the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients living across all households in the US paid $5.7 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes.

The Immigration Initiative at Harvard University’s study found many DACA recipients are hesitant to purchase homes or invest in their education because they fear their benefits might end. Many also fear that they will have to work low-paying jobs, despite all of the “gains they have made in educational and professional development,” according to the study.

“The report details how, over the past seven years, DACA has served as a vehicle for social mobility for its beneficiaries and their families. In doing so, it points to the incremental, yet dramatic, changes in the employment, educational, and well-being trajectories of these respondents,” the report read. “We see them taking advantage of new employment opportunities, finding their way back to educational programs, and building on these opportunities to start careers and advance in their jobs.”

But the program could end soon. On November 12, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about the DACA program and a decision to keep or end the program could be made no later than June 2020, according to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).

“Due to its success, DACA is widely popular and has been enormously beneficial to communities, the U.S. economy, and educational institutions. At a time of growing anxiety, our nation’s decision makers would be best served by recognizing that DACA’s success is a netbenefit to our great country,” the report read.

Quick Facts About the Report

  • Since 2012, there have been more than 800,000 young immigrants or DREAMers who have received DACA status.

  • Sixty-eight percent of DACA recipients who have completed a licensing or certificate program saw hourly wage increases from $5 to $8 to more than $14 an hour.

  • Seventy-six percent saw their yearly salaries double after completing a certificate or licensing program.

  • There are 19 states and the District of Columbia that have policies that extend in-state tuition for undocumented students. Some of these states include: California, Colorado, Florida, New York and Texas.

Why it Matters

Omar Jadwat, the Director of the Immigrants Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told The North Star there is a bunch of concrete things that DACA provides, namely the ability to participate in the life of their communities and their families without constant fear.

He noted that while DACA is not perfect, there are many undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children but are unable to receive DACA benefits, but it is immensely important for the thousands of people who could lose it. “The ripple effects would not only go to the U.S. economy, which would lose many people who are valuable and productive workers, but DACA recipients who are supporting families of their own. These ripple effects would drive these people back into the shadows and back into undocumented existence,” Jadwat told TNS. What Can Be Done

There are thousands of students taking a stand across the country to defend the DACA program. On Friday, students in cities like Chicago, Phoenix, Santa Cruz, Oklahoma City and the D.C. metro area walked out of their classrooms to defend the program. The protests were organized by United We Dream, a national immigrant youth-led organization.

“Youth across the world right now are leading protest movements to save the planet, to push back against cuts to our education, to keep our families together, and to save our democracy. Today is no different. Young people know that DACA is the very least that we should be doing so that immigrants and everyone can have the right and the opportunity to thrive,” Karla Aguirre, a DACA recipient and organizer for United We Dream, said in a statement.

There will be a larger protest on the steps of the Supreme Court to fight for the DACA program on November 12. To learn more and to get involved, click here. Related News

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About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.