New DACA Research Sheds Light on Dreamers

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

Recent research from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) sheds some light on the behaviors of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) participants and their contributions to American communities. This new DACA research was based on new data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and released in September 2017. The data provides new insight into immigration status, allowing us to look at data for the DACA-participating population for the first time. The findings in the fact-sheet published by MPI show education levels, work-force participation, gender disparities, job choices and other newly revealed stats on Dreamers.

DACA research results

The research is eye opening, not only because it’s the first of its kind on that particular population, but because its findings are significant.

Dreamers are nearly as likely to attend college as their American-citizen counterparts in the same age group. But, they’re less likely to graduate. DACA-particpating women are also more commonly enrolled in college than DACA-participating men, but those women are less likely to work in contrast. Half of all Dreamers are gainfully employed, and a third are attending school, putting them not too far off from the rates for young American adults. According to the study, DACA has given Dreamers a path to mobility within their careers. Plus, their career choices often greatly benefit their communities. Roughly 9,000 Dreamers are employed as teachers or as education professionals, and 14,000 are employed as healthcare practitioners or support.

You can read more DACA statistics in the full MPI research fact sheet.

The timing of this study coincides well with the push for legislation to protect Dreamers from losing their status in the U.S. Congress has been charged with coming up with legislation that would help this population of young immigrants beyond March 6. Research like this helps point out the benefits of keeping DACA status and how to improve the program for Dreamers.

In September 2017, Trump announced his administration’s intention to start a “wind-down” for DACA, which was created in 2012 to defer deportation for certain immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. There are 793,000 individuals who have received DACA status since the beginning of the program. On September 5, 2017, USCIS stopped accepting new applications, and this status will go away for individuals after two years of holding DACA status. With this wind-down, MPI estimates that every day starting March 6, 2018, roughly 915 individuals will lose DACA status. And, barring a legislative rescue from lawmakers, there will be no one left in the DACA program by March 2020.

For more on the current state of immigration, tune into the latest on-demand webinar from Envoy