Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. depend on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy to remain in the country and work legally. Since 2012, the policy has come with its share of upheavals. Knowing some of the most vital facts can help you with your immigration plans if you are an immigrant living in Illinois.
An overview of DACA statistics
There are just over 600,0000 DACA recipients in the U.S. Statistics show that with access to legal status, many study, work, and go to school to improve their lives. While many undocumented people are unable to obtain steady employment or attend college, approximately 80% of DACA recipients are able to work after gaining their protected status. And once they have work authorization, they can secure higher-paying jobs. Additionally, 70% pursue higher education even without having access to the student loan system, which helps to make college affordable for millions. Ultimately, for many DACA recipients, the goal is to live out the American dream.
Uncertainty of continued status
Despite the numerous benefits of providing legal authorization and protection to people who have lived in the U.S. since they were children, some legislators are looking to end the program. In 2017, one of the first attempts to destabilize the program could have ended the protections under the law. Since that time there have been numerous challenges to the policy, which offers some security to those who have not fully achieved documented immigration status.
As of July 2021, the DACA program is no longer accepting new applications. This means that for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., very little protection is available even though they’ve only really ever known the U.S. as home.
Immigrant rights advocates continue to push for legislation that will provide greater protections and a path to citizenship for those living in the U.S. Immigration law has not undergone a major change in decades and leaves many people vulnerable. The Biden Administration hopes to make changes. However, it is unclear if these changes will become the law of the land.
DACA is an important policy designed to provide greater stability in an unstable legal situation for a large portion of the undocumented. Only time will tell if DACA can provide a long-term solution to immigration policy reform.