From Undocumented to DACAmented Impacts of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program Three Years Following its Announcement

Caitlin Patler and Jorge A. Cabrera (California State University Dominguez Hills)

Executive Summary:
Announced by the Obama administration in June 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program offers eligible undocumented youth and young adults a reprieve from deportation and temporary work authorization. An estimated 1.7 million young immigrants are eligible for this program. DACA is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which began accepting applications in August 2012. DACA requires individuals to re-apply every two years and is revocable at any time. Importantly, DACA is not a formal legal status, nor does it offer a path to permanent residency or citizenship.

This study assesses DACA’s impacts on the educational and socioeconomic trajectories and health and wellbeing of young adults in Southern California. We compare individuals who received deferred action from deportation and subsequent work authorization through the DACA program with similarly situated undocumented youth who do not have DACA status.

In total, we surveyed 502 young adults, including 452 DACA recipients, and 50 undocumented youth who had not received DACA. Our survey took place two years after DACA’s initiation, with the goal of exploring the longer-term impacts of the program.