On Eve of 10th DACA Anniversary, New FWD.us Analysis Highlights Decade of Dreamer Contributions, Uncertain Policy Future

Due to Congressional Inaction, Immediate Legal Threats Could Terminate Overwhelmingly Successful Policy that Has Helped a Generation of Young People Build Families and Lives in the United States

WASHINGTON, DC – A new FWD.us report released today ahead of the 10th anniversary of the creation of the DACA program, shows that ten years after the Obama Administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, the protections afforded by the policy have helped DACA recipients to build their lives in the U.S, graduate from school, grow their careers, and establish their own families. The report compares how the initial cohort of those who received DACA when the policy was first announced in 2012 has grown since the policy was enacted, and also shares new insights to the current population of individuals with DACA. With the policy under threat, devastating consequences could follow if Congress allows the court system to upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people and their families across the country.
Youth who started as mostly high school and college students are now building careers and establishing families, but despite the time that has gone by since DACA’s inception, overwhelming support from a bipartisan majority of Americans for a solution, and the immense benefits they bring to our nation, Congress has failed to write this policy into law. This leaves hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients and millions of families in limbo. A federal court hearing in July and anticipated fall decision could strike down the policy altogether — eliminating the legal status of immigrants who have built their entire lives in the United States.
According to FWD.us’ estimates in the new analysis, in 2012 when the program 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.
Ten years later, 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:
  • The average age of DACA recipients is 28 years old;
  • Just 15% of approved applicants are enrolled in high school or college;
  • A majority (85%) of DACA recipients are participating in the labor force;
  • DACA recipients’ incomes have increased more than five-fold;
  • 99% of DACA recipients have graduated from high school;
  • Nearly half – 47% – of DACA recipients have attained some college education;
  • 37% of DACA recipients are married; and
  • 42% of DACA recipients have children, many of whom are American citizens.
“This analysis underscores the immense strides and life and career growth changes DACA recipients have undergone since the program’s inception. And while these statistics paint a vivid picture of the benefits of the policy, it is crucial to remember that these are real peoples’ lives and families at stake if Congress does not act to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship,” said FWD.us senior demographer Phillip Connor. “This policy has impacted families in communities across the country. Many Americans probably know a DACA recipient without realizing it because they have become crucial parts of our society and daily lives – people like Reyna Montoya, a teacher and DACA recipient in Phoenix, DACA recipient nurses like Hina Naveed in New York and Jesus Contreras in Texas, and the more than 835,000 other young people who have benefitted from this program. We need action from Congress now so they can continue to thrive in the country in which they’ve gone to school, built a family, and work every day.”

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