-- Beth Padilla, Esq.
Researchers from the University of Harvard School of Education and the University of Southern California have published the results of study examining the impact of President Barack Obama’s immigration program for young people entitled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA was implemented one year ago today, on August 15, 2012. Through DACA, young people that arrived in the United States before they turned sixteen years old, attended high school or obtained a GED, have been continuously present since June 15, 2007, are between the ages of fifteen and thirty one, and have not been convicted of serious crimes may apply for DACA. DACA requires the young person to turn himself into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DHS will in turn defer action on the person’s case for two years. Through the program, young people may obtain work authorization, a social security card, and perhaps a driver’s license. DACA is not a pathway to citizenship, does not allow young people to have a green card, and does not permit young people to apply for immigration status for their family members.
The recent research demonstrates that DACA has had a positive impact on the young immigrant community in the United States. For example, sixty-one percent of DACA recipients obtained a new job after they were granted DACA status. Fifty-four percent of DACA recipients interviewed opened their first bank account, while sixty-one percent obtained their driver’s license. There are many benefits to the young immigrants that have obtained DACA status as well as to the American public. When more young people are able to obtain jobs, they are less likely to support themselves and their families through illegal means. In addition, if young people are able to obtain a driver’s license, they are more likely to obtain car insurance as well. Overall, while DACA is not the DREAM Act, it is a step in the right direction and the benefits apply to many sectors of the public.
For more information regarding the recent study, visit http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/how-daca-impacting-lives-those-who-are-now-dacamented.