DACA Recipients’ Livelihoods, Families, and Sense of Security Are at Stake This November

Publication date: 
September 2019

Since it was first announced on June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has provided temporary relief from deportation as well as work authorization to approximately 825,000 undocumented young people across the country.

From August 14 to September 6, 2019, Tom K. Wong of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California, San Diego; United We Dream; the National Immigration Law Center; and the Center for American Progress fielded a national survey to further analyze the experiences of DACA recipients. This study includes 1,105 DACA recipients in 40 states as well as the District of Columbia.

2019 marks the fifth consecutive year that the authors have surveyed DACA recipients. This research, as with previous surveys, continues to show that DACA recipients are making significant contributions to the economy. In all, 96 percent of respondents are currently employed or enrolled in school.

Moreover, for the first time, the survey provides data about the widespread harms that DACA recipients could endure if they lost their status and faced potential deportation. A full 93 percent of respondents reported concerns about either their or their family’s physical safety; ability to access health care or education; food security; or risk of homelessness if they were deported to their respective countries of birth. With the Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments on the legality of DACA’s termination on November 12, these data make clear that the stakes could not be higher.