Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is a United States Federal Government program that was created in 2012 under the Obama Administration. The program was designed to address the growing number of children of illegal immigrants, who are living in the United States (more than 800,000 young people at that time), who did not have access to necessary activities of American living, such as the ability to legally work, or obtain a driver’s license, as well as being excluded access to certain health insurance, and education benefits necessary for their socioeconomic mobility and health. Because of the widespread need for immigration reform and the sluggish movement by the federal government toward addressing some of these tenuous components, DACA was set up to temporarily shield a certain class of immigrants from being deported, and provided eligibility for work permits with unlimited renewal until Congress fully addressed immigration reform.

Citizenship. These individuals have not been granted permanent legal status because of the way they entered the United States, and it was made clear that DACA is not meant to be a path to citizenship, but a stopgap until the government could iron out the complexities of immigration reform. Enrolled beneficiaries of the program can defer deportation for two years at a time.

Deportation. A very important feature of DACA is that the Department of Homeland Security would no longer be able to initiate deportation of illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16 years of age, live in America for at least five years and attend school, or are high school graduates, or military veterans in good standing. This group must have clean criminal records and cannot be more than 30 years of age. The constant uncertainty around deportation, and defining a pathway to legal citizenship has burdened many young illegal immigrants living in America. Enrollment must be renewed every two years to avoid deportation. A skilled immigration attorney may help regarding DACA eligibility, enrollment and other necessary steps that can be taken to keep individuals from being deported to countries they have no knowledge of, or attachment to.

Economic benefits. Common benefits of DACA to the United States include:

increased funding for social programs and a reduction in the economic deficit – DACA recipients pay more taxes into the system then they take out.
increased rates of entrepreneurship – skilled immigrants generate businesses and new gadgets.
state benefit from increased revenue taxes – many DACA enrollees have purchased cars, or houses for which they pay taxes, and registration fees.
educated human capital – data from The New American Economy, reports 81.4 percent of DACA recipients have graduated from high school and taken a college course. In addition, nearly 17 percent have gone to college and earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree. America should want to utilize the benefits associated with educated immigrants.

DACA Events. The Trump administration repealed DACA in 2017, restricting the program to those individuals already enrolled, and limiting work permits to one year, thereby destabilizing the futures of the young illegal immigrants who were enrolled in DACA . The repeal was undertaken based on the facade that illegal undocumented immigrants were decreasing wages and taking jobs, thereby hurting Americans. The negative effects of the repeal fall onto an estimated 645,000 individuals enrolled as of June 2020, and 685,000 who are eligible for enrollment, living in the United States without formal citizenship pathways. In December 2020, a federal judge in New York has overturned the Trump administration’s latest effort to limit the DACA.



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