DACA Facts: The Case for Protecting Dreamers

DACA Facts: Dreamers stand outside capitol building to tell Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution
DACA Facts: Dreamers stand outside capitol building to tell Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program was created in 2012 and allowed certain young people, who came to the U.S. as children, to apply for work authorization and protection from deportation.

DACA recipients must meet a series of strict criteria, are required to pass an extensive background check as part of the application process, and must renew their application every two years to remain in the program.

DACA recipients across the country are living in fear and uncertainty, from court case to court case. Only Congress can provide a permanent legislative solution, so unless Members of Congress take action, hundreds of thousands of young people will be ripped from their loved ones, their communities, and their jobs, with devastating consequences for their lives, and for the U.S. economy.

DACA recipients deserve to stay in the only home they’ve ever known. Take the pledge and support a pathway to citizenship #ForOurFamilies.

Nearly 700,000

young people in the U.S. currently hold DACA

1.3 million

DACA-eligible Dreamers living in the United States

$42 billion

annual GDP contributed by DACA recipients in the U.S.

DACA Facts: DACA Recipients Live in and Contribute to Nearly Every Community Across the Country

All DACA recipients have lived in the United States for at least a decade, and many for much longer. The average Dreamer came to the United States at the age of seven and is now 25 years old. They were educated in American elementary, middle, and high schools, and many have earned degrees from U.S. universities. Dreamers are Americans in virtually every single way, except on paper.

Dreamers are deeply integrated in nearly every community across the United States. They work as nurses, teachers, and engineers; they go to our schools, teach our children, play on our kids’ sports teams, and worship alongside us in our churches.

Nearly 700,000 young people in the U.S. have applied and currently hold DACA. Across the country, more than 1.5 million people live with a DACA recipient. 

DACA recipients contribute more than $42 billion to the annual GDP in the U.S.

These hardworking young people came forward and volunteered their personal information to the government in good faith, but that very same information could now be used to target them for deportation if Congress fails to take action.

$1.7 billion

Annual state and local taxes paid by Dreamers every year

$5.7 billion

Annual federal taxes paid by DACA recipients and their households

$24.1 billion

Annual spending power of DACA recipients and their households

Dreamers Own Homes, Start Businesses That Employ Americans, and Pay Billions of Dollars in Taxes Every Year

  • Nearly $2 billion contributed by Dreamers to Social Security annually
  • Nearly $470 million paid into Medicare by Dreamers every year
  • Up to $1 trillion added to the U.S. GDP over a decade if permanent protections for Dreamers are passed
  • 96% of Dreamers are either working or in school
  • 6% of Dreamers have launched their own business
  • 60% of Dreamers have purchased a vehicle.
  • 14% of Dreamers have purchased their own home, and they pay an estimated $380 million in property taxes every year.
Upwards of $21 billion

the cost of removal alone of DACA recipients from the U.S. in addition to the terrible moral consequences


U.S. citizen children who have at least one parent who is a DACA recipient

Hurting DACA Recipients Hurts Everyone

Dreamers have deep roots in their communities across the country; uprooting their lives hurts not only them, but millions of their loved ones, neighbors, and employers.

Dreamers are also the parents to hundreds of thousands of U.S.-born citizen children; Congress’ failure to pass a permanent legislative solution would be directly responsible for ripping apart thousands of American families.

Since DACA’s rescission in 2017, every year nearly 100,000 Dreamers graduate from high school without DACA or protection from deportation, harming their work prospects and limiting their access to higher education.

The U.S. will lose nearly $93 billion in federal tax revenue over a 10-year period if DACA recipients are unable to remain in the country.


Center for American Progress, Axios, Migration Policy Institute, American Action Forum, New American Economy, Zillow, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Cato Institute
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