As the radically right-wing U.S. House of Representatives works to scuttle comprehensive immigration reform, a new study shows President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a year old on Aug. 15, is providing relief to thousands of undocumented immigrants who arrived here as children.
The report finds that since its announcement “more than half a million people have applied for DACA through June 2013; 72 percent have been approved, while just 1 percent have been denied. The majority of the remaining applications are still under review.”
The report also provides demographics of those being helped by the program. Brookings obtained information on DACA via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. For example, the report notes more than “half (54 percent) of all DACA applicants were under age 21.” The applicants were “fairly evenly split between males and females. Fifty one (51) percent of DACA applicants were female; 49 percent were male. The most common year of birth for applicants was 1994.”
Moreover, the study, shows the “vast majority of DACA applicants” have “lived in the United States for at least ten years and nearly one-third were age five or younger at arrival.”
Additionally most of the DACA applicants hail from Mexico, but many others come from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, South Korea, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and the Philippines.
Audrey Singer, co-author of the report, told The New York Times, “If we think about what they’ve done in their lives and how they’ve spent time in this country, the fact is that they’ve been part of the American school system. This is one of the big things that makes them American.”
In a post for the National Council of La Raza’s blog, the group says the success of DACA “can be measured by the stories of the more than 400,000 people whose applications have been approved and who can now live without fear of deportation while continuing their education and contributions for their communities.”
While the Senate was able to come together to pass a long overdue immigration reform bill, the House, in the grip of a party devoted to hobbling government, DACA is a significant example of an executive branch action that is making a positive difference in the lives of many young immigrants.