The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is still struggling under lawsuits dating back to the Trump Administration. The position of ‘Dreamers’ in Illinois and the U.S. is tenuous because of the challenges placed on the program. The tenth anniversary of DACA is seen by many as a good time to look at the successes and failures of the program. Legal issues are halting new applicants from receiving DACA status, with Federal Authorities only allowed to renew existing eligibility under the DACA program.
The latest figures about DACA recipients have been released and show a total of 611,470 recipients in December 2021. The recipients of DACA accreditation are given relief from deportation efforts and permitted to work legally. The court case hanging over the heads of ‘Dreamers’ have placed them in limbo, with their immigration status set to be defined in court.
The effects of the DACA program on its recipients are easy to see in the immigration statistics. The use of DACA has been shown to keep ‘Dreamers’ in school longer and improve their earning potential. Around one-third of ‘Dreamers’ are in school, with 70 percent working towards a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The increased earning potential of DACA recipients was shown in the average hourly wages of DACA recipients climbing from $11 per hour for undocumented workers to $23 per hour for those in the DACA immigration program.
Losing a Sense of Belonging
One of the most important parts of the DACA program for ‘Dreamers” was feeling they belong. By 2020-21, the number of ‘Dreamers’ feeling they belonged in the U.S. fell dramatically. By 2021, the number of ‘Dreamers’ feeling they belong in the U.S. had fallen to 45 percent from a high of 60 percent.
More than 600,000 undocumented immigrants are enrolled in U.S. public schools. The failure to reopen the DACA program to new applicants will allow 100,000 undocumented high school students to graduate without the chance of entering the DACA program. The immigration and DACA landscape is constantly changing, with an estimated 21,000 high school students enrolled in the DACA program. The loss of DACA accreditation has led to new problems facing undocumented immigrants in the U.S. 43,000 undocumented graduating high school seniors live in states where in-state tuition is only available to documented immigrants. Students who have been barred from the DACA program face the prospect of paying full tuition fees to continue their education.