Dreamers, other unauthorized persons, and their economic contribution today and tomorrow


741,546 unauthorized young people have received DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Three pro-immigration groups carried out a survey of DACA enrollees. The survey was done online thus is vulnerable to response bias. The respondents reported significant gain in employment by virtue of DACA.

An earlier Ford Foundation-funded study looked at undocumented higher education students. Among its findings:

Participants emigrated from 55 different countries of origin, On average, participants had resided 14.8 years in the U.S.; in most cases, the majority of their lives have been spent in the U.S. 61.3% had an annual household income below $30,000, 29.0% had an annual household income of $30,000 to $50,000, and 9.7% had an annual household income above $50,000. 72.4% were working while attending college. 64.1% reported having at least one member of their household who was citizen or lawful resident. Deportation is a constant concern. Over ¾ of participants reported worries about being detained or deported. 55.9% reported personally knowing someone who had been deported including a parent (5.7%) or a sibling (3.2%) A vast majority (90.4%) said they would become citizens if they could.

The Center for American Progress estimated the economic impact of legal status for the estimated 5.2 million DACA and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) persons. (DAPA is described here.)

The Center for American Progress estimates a significant gain in the American economy by granted permanent legal status to all 8 million undocumented workers.

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