Yesterday the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) released a treasure trove of data on DREAM Act-eligible youth, including where they come from and where in the US they tend to live. The report, entitled “Who and Where the DREAMers Are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action Initiative,” is a look into the statistics of young people more used to standing in the shadows and not being counted at all.
An estimated 1.4 million DREAMers live in the US, spread over every single US state and the District of Columbia. While a majority lives in immigrant-rich states like California, Texas, Florida, and New York, there are also far-flung DREAMers in Montana (90), Alaska (410), Vermont (260), and Maine (560).
The IPC also breaks down the DREAMer demographic by Congressional district, and finds that large numbers of DREAMers are represented by some very immigrant-unfriendly congressmen and women. For example:
- A whopping 1,260 DREAMers live in Rep. Steve King (R-IA)’s district—more than live in any other district in Iowa. Yet King is threatening to sue President Obama for announcing a deferred action relief plan that would recognize DREAMers and give them work permits.
- Rep. Lamar Smith’s Texas district is home to 2,760 DREAMers—yet he has fought against the DREAM Act every step of the way, even calling it a “nightmare for the American people.”
- Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) used to be a champion for immigration reform, participating in a 2007 coalition that introduced a bill carving out a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants. That was before he began running for Senate, flip-flopped, and began attacking the Obama administration for its immigration policies. With 5,560 DREAMers in his district, he might want to soften his stance.
These DREAMers are aspiring citizens, young people who work hard and will soon have legal (albeit temporary) status. Instead of fighting all the moves that would grant these young immigrants recognition in the only country they’ve ever called home, these Congressmen might be better off actually representing the interests of the people who live in and contribute to their districts.