Close to Half A Million DREAMERs Avoid Deportation

Washington, D.C.- Since last August, when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)took effect, close to half a million Dreamers have been able to avoid deportation and gain legal status that allows them to legally work or attend school in the U.S. according to data released from the Department of Homeland Security.

The DACA was an executive order enacted by President Obama in June of 2012, after Congress failed at their numerous attempts to carve out a pathway to citizenship for the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally by their parents. The order gave these young immigrants the opportunity to avoid deportation for two years while they worked on obtaining legal documents as long as they have not committed any crimes.

The DACA requires that each applicant be actively enrolled in school and work in the U.S. The program gave these young immigrants the opportunity to get legal employment, driver’s licenses and get in-state tuition for college.

According to the report, the DHS received 588,725 applications for the program. Of those, 455,455 applications were approved, according to the Huffington Post.  Close to 21,000 applications were rejected for the DACA
The Brookings Institute reported that 54 percent of the applicants were under the age of 21 and 36 percent were between the ages of 15 and 18.

The DACA only defers deportation for two years, and is considered a temporary fix for an immigration issue that needs to be addressed. The Senate’s immigration reform bill, which the House refused to vote on, included provisions similar to the DREAM Act and would give young immigrants freedom from deportation and an eventual pathway to citizenship.

The House is currently working on a bill that would also give young immigrants the opportunity to apply for legal status. The House has, however released very few specifics about the Kids Act so it is unclear if it will include a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants.

That pathway citizenship, which makes Conservatives squeamish, is one of the primary reasons that immigration reform has been delayed, even though the House passed their reform bill in June. Republicans in the House view the pathway to citizenship as amnesty and maintains that making it law would be rewarding people who broke the law.

Democrats have repeatedly stated that immigration reform that doesn’t offer some sort of pathway to citizenship will be rejected.

There is some speculation that if the House fails to act on immigration reform, immigration advocate groups will put pressure on President Obama to make reform a reality through executive orders, even though he has repeatedly said that is not an option.

Conservatives are fearful that the president will use executive orders so some more sensible members of the party, such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have warned them to act.

The success of the DACA, indicates there are a number of undocumented immigrants that are willing to go through the process and apply for legal status if they are given the opportunity.