E.g., 04/21/2024
E.g., 04/21/2024
Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy

This fact sheet provides an estimate of the number of DREAMers—unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for a two-year reprieve from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative—based on eligibility criteria outlined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in August 2012. It also offers a detailed analysis of the demographic characteristics of prospective beneficiaries, by age, education, region or country of birth, gender, and workforce participation. The fact sheet also provides state-level estimates.

According to MPI’s analysis of Current Population Survey (CPS) data from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as many as 1.76 million unauthorized immigrants under age 31 who were brought to the United States as children are, or could become, potential beneficiaries of the deferred action initiative.

Of the 1.76 million potential beneficiaries, the authors calculate that 1.26 million meet the minimum age criteria—15 or older—to file immediately for DACA benefits. The remaining 500,000 will become eligible to apply within the next decade, provided that they meet the education and other requirements. Estimates of the educational outcomes of this population show that approximately 800,000 children and young adults are currently enrolled in the K-12 system; 390,000 have a high school diploma or GED as their terminal degree; 140,000 are enrolled in college; and 80,000 already have an associate’s degree or higher. Another 350,000 young adults could re-enroll in high school or GED programs to meet DHS’s new education criteria for DACA eligibility. Authors also expect work authorization provisions under DACA to significantly improve employment conditions and wages of successful applicants, as nearly 60 percent of prospective beneficiaries over the age of 15 participate in the labor force.

Table of Contents 

I. Demographic Profile of the Potentially Eligible DREAMers

II. Data and Analytical Approach