Post-DACA and the American Dream
November 13, 2017
In September, President Trump rescinded the Obama Administration immigration policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA was originally established in June 2012. The policy allowed immigrants to avoid deportation and obtain work permits for two years if they:
Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
Arrived in the United States before turning 16 years old.
Resided in the United States since 2007.
Completed high school or a GED, were enrolled in school, or were honorably discharged from the armed forces;
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Had not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanors or more than two misdemeanors.
Did not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
To obtain DACA, applicants needed to complete an application and submit a $495 filing fee. Upon obtaining DACA, recipients were eligible to renew DACA by submitting another application and another $495 filing fee.
University of California, Davis economist Giovanni Peri determined that DACA "increases consumption and overall demand for U.S. services, products, and jobs where the DACA recipients live and spend. Economists have shown that highly skilled workers increase local productivity and create opportunities for the other workers too."
For instance, one study found:
DACA increases recipients' average hourly wages by 42 percent.
Approximately 87 percent of recipients are employed and 8 percent of recipients are not working, but are attending school.
Sixty-three percent of recipients obtained a job with higher pay after receiving DACA.
Six percent of recipients began their own business after receiving DACA, whereas only 3 percent of the general American population begins their own business.
Fifty-four percent of recipients purchased their first car after receiving DACA.
Twelve percent of recipients purchased their first home after receiving DACA.
Ninety percent of recipients obtained their first driver's license or state identification card after receiving DACA, which allows individuals to obtain automobile insurance, credit cards, and bank accounts.
President Trump said he was forced to rescind DACA because it was unconstitutional and would not survive legal challenges. Regardless of whether he is correct, the issue now is what happens next. As of September, there were nearly 800,000 DACA recipients. With the rescission of DACA and upon the expiration of their work permits, these recipients will be subject to deportation. They will lose their ability to legally work and lose their driver's licenses. As a result, they will likely lose their jobs and their contributions to the economy will significantly decrease.
There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Many of these immigrants came to the United States as children, completed their education, work, and do not have a criminal history. DACA proved giving these people an opportunity to remain in the United States provides them the ability to pursue an education and a career. DACA also proved giving these individuals a chance can boost the economy.
The U.S. Congress is currently considering several bills to address this issue, including: the Bridge Act; the American Hope Act; the Recognizing America's Children Act; the Succeed Act; and the Dream Act, which would allow immigrants to become legal permanent residents if they meet similar criteria to DACA. The original Dream Act was first proposed in 2001.
Sixteen years and three U.S. presidents later, we are still dealing with the same issue as hundreds of thousands of young, able individuals are awaiting their opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
Kyle Morishita is an immigration attorney at DeCastroverde Law Group, with offices in Reno and Las Vegas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.