Yesterday, DREAMers and their advocates celebrated the third anniversary of the announcement of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA.
The celebration even earned notice from members of Congress, President Barack Obama, and 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who tweeted their support from their official Twitter accounts.
Up until the announcement of DAPA and expanded DACA last November, DACA was arguably our movement’s biggest immigration victory in decades, and no doubt helped pave the way for President Obama’s November 2014 actions.
As we noted earlier, DACA’s announcement not only altered the course of the 2012 Presidential election, but it has the power to influence 2016 in which support for executive action on immigration becomes one of the clearest distinctions between parties.
Yesterday, using the #DACAWorks hashtag, DACA recipients spent the day sharing how deferred action has changed their lives and has given nearly 700,000 young immigrants a chance to become a part of the American fabric.
Because of DACA, DREAMers across the nation have been able to legally work and live free from the fear of deportation, empowering them to enroll in higher education and win local and state victories, like in-state tuition rates and driver’s licenses.
From DREAMer Juan Escalante, who is pursuing a graduate degree:
— Juan Escalante (@JuanSaaa) June 15, 2015
From DREAMer Maria Praeli, who can now work to build a better future for herself:
From DREAMer Denisse Roja, a new medical school student:
— Unionswork4all (@Unionswork4all) June 15, 2015
In additional to rallies across the nation and floor speeches from members of Congress celebrating this victory from the immigrant youth movement, the Center for American Progress also released two new reports this week detailing the economic benefits of deferred action.
As of March 2015, close to 750,000 people have applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, and 665,000 people have had their applications approved. DACA has significantly and positively affected the lives of those who have received the temporary status: A Harvard University study found that 60 percent of DACA beneficiaries reported obtaining new jobs and 45 percent reported increased wages. Additionally, 57 percent of DACA beneficiaries have obtained a driver’s license, giving them more mobility and flexibility to help support both themselves and their families.
The economic benefits of the deferred action programs vary widely by state, depending on the size of the eligible population. For example, in Texas, almost 51 percent of the 1.5 million undocumented immigrants are eligible for the programs. If these individuals were to receive temporary work permits, the state of Texas is estimated to see a cumulative increase of $38.3 billion in GDP, with a $17.6 billion increase in income for all state residents and an increase of 4,800 jobs annually over the following decade. States with smaller undocumented populations such as Colorado—where half of the state’s 164,000 undocumented immigrants may benefit from these programs—may see cumulative gains of $3.3 billion in GDP and $2.1 billion in income increase for all state residents in the 10 year period.
A media round-up on how DACA has changed the lives of immigrant youth is available here.