WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new FWD.us report released today ahead of the 11th anniversary of the creation of the DACA policy on Thursday, June 15 shows that more than a decade after the Obama administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, the protections afforded by the policy have helped DACA recipients build their lives in the U.S, graduate from school, grow their careers, and establish themselves as active members of their communities. The report compares the first group of DACA recipients then (2012) and now (2023), underscoring the benefits of the life-changing policy and the uncertainty surrounding the policy’s future due to its challenge in the courts.
According to FWD.us’ estimates, in 2012 when the policy was created:
The average age of DACA recipients was 21 years old;
Nearly half (45%) of approved applicants were enrolled in high school or college;
A majority (60%) of DACA recipients participated in the labor force;
Only 38% of DACA recipients had graduated from high school; and
Roughly a third (35%) of DACA recipients had attained some college education.
17% of DACA recipients were married; and
22% of DACA recipients had children.
Eleven years later, those first DACA’s beneficiaries have built families and careers in the U.S. — and they’re contributing to our economy and communities at a time we need it most. Now:
With the average age of DACA recipients being 6 years old when they arrived in the U.S., the average age of those first DACA recipients is now 32 years old;
Just 10% of those first approved applicants are currently enrolled in high school or college;
A vast majority (86%) of those first DACA recipients are now actively participating in the labor force;
DACA recipients’ incomes have increased more than seven-fold;
99% of those first DACA recipients have graduated from high school;
Nearly half – 48% – of those first DACA recipients have attained some college education;
39% of those first DACA recipients are married; and
48% of those first DACA recipients have children, many of whom are American citizens.
“Eleven years have passed since the DACA policy’s inception. And unfortunately, while there is bipartisan momentum for action and opportunity to do so, Congress has failed to provide Dreamers and those that rely on them with a permanent legislative solution,” FWD.us senior demographer Phillip Connor. “As the courts continue down a path towards likely terminating DACA, we are reminded this policy is not permanent. If DACA goes away – jobs will be lost and families will be separated, along with many more consequences to our communities and economy. This report is further proof of the policy’s success, fragility, and the growing need for Congressional action. DACA recipients are real people, with real families and real jobs, and they will face real life-altering consequences if something is not done to protect them. Congress must take urgent action before it’s too late.”
Youth who started as mostly high school and college students are now building careers and establishing families. However, despite the time that has gone by since DACA’s inception and the immense benefits they bring to our nation, the future of DACA recipients, DACA-eligible individuals, and the families, workplaces, and communities that rely on them remain in limbo.
This report and the DACA anniversary is a reminder that lawmakers have still not found a permanent solution for Dreamers, and the policy continues to face ongoing legal challenges. U.S. District Judge Hanen heard oral arguments on the Biden Administration’s DACA rule on June 1. While a ruling on the legality of DACA could be issued in weeks or months, the stay on renewals for current DACA recipients remains. Therefore, current DACA recipients should renew their DACA and take advantage of Advance Parole if they are eligible.