President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program grants a reprieve from deportation for certain undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. Many undocumented youth in the U.S. who meet the eligibility criteria for deferred action are applying for this temporary status in the country. However, youth from certain countries have a much lower application rate.
Around 65 percent of Mexican nationals and 61 percent of Hondurans have applied for deferred action. But only 16 percent of the youth from the Philippines and 14 percent from the Dominican Republic have applied for this status so far.
A recent study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute shows that there are variations in deferred action application rates among national origin groups. Public education on this program is necessary to make more undocumented youth understand how this program will benefit them.
There are many undocumented children in the U.S. who would become eligible for deferred action in future. Those children who belong to families with high poverty rates are likely to drop out of school. This DACA program might motivate such children to graduate, since an undocumented immigrant needs to be a high school graduate to file an application for deferred action.
DACA has positively impacted the lives of several undocumented youth. This program helps the recipients to work legally and obtain driver’s licenses. Most of the American states have granted the undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. Some states permit the DACA recipients to pay lower college tuition.
Undocumented youth in the U.S. need to know about the program prior to filing their applications. Several community based organizations and the consular network of the Mexicans have helped Mexicans to learn about the DACA program and to apply for deferred action status. Undocumented youth who still have not filed their applications for DACA need to understand the importance of the status this program would grant them and start filing their applications.