Deferred Action Benefiting the Lives of Undocumented Youth

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) does not put the undocumented youth on a path to legalization and U.S. citizenship, but provides them an opportunity to remain in the U.S. and to integrate into the U.S. economy. Though this is only a temporary status, it allows them to get employment authorization documents.

A survey conducted by Roberto G. Gonzalez, of Harvard University, shows that this policy implemented by President Obama has impacted the lives of many young people who have received DACA status. He says that the recipients of DACA are getting new jobs and are able to drive legally by getting driver’s licenses. They are also able to open bank accounts and apply for credit cards.

Around 2300 DACA recipients were surveyed and around half of them have opened bank accounts. 67 percent of them are employed and 57 percent of them now hold driver’s licenses. However, not all the American states permit the DACA recipients to get driver’s licenses. Likewise, DACA recipients in all the American states do not have access to federal financial aid for education and for other state benefits.

According to Gonzalez, deferred action is not a form of legal immigration status; it is only a temporary status. An undocumented immigrant who can prove that he or she was not below age 16 or above age 31 as of 15 June, 2012, can file an application for this status. They also need to meet certain other DACA requirements.

If their applications for this temporary status are approved, they will be allowed to work, study and live here legally. They also need not worry about deportation for two years. They can renew this status towards the end of the two year period.

Reports show that more than 2 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. entered into the country as children. Not all of them have applied for this status. Some do not have the supporting documents to establish their eligibility for this status. While few others believe that their undocumented family members will get into trouble if they apply for deferred action.

Most of the DACA recipients who took part in the survey were less worried about deportation. But most of them are worried about their family members who are undocumented.