The Trump administration’s decision on Tuesday to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will have far-reaching implications on states and localities.
The Obama-era program provided two-year deportation protection to young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally before turning 16, provided they met education and other requirements.
In areas where young immigrants are most concentrated, ending DACA could potentially disrupt local economies. A survey conducted earlier this month by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, found 91 percent of responding DACA recipients were currently employed.
The survey also indicated that DACA may have helped immigrants climb the economic ladder: 54 percent said they secured their first job after DACA approval, and 69 percent said they got a pay raise after DACA approval. Other research suggests the children of immigrants eventually contribute more in taxes, on average, than native-born Americans once they start working.
According to the latest federal data, approximately half of the nearly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries -- otherwise known as "Dreamers" -- live in just three states: California, Illinois and Texas. With a few exceptions, Dreamers are most prevalent throughout the western U.S. On a per capita basis, states with the highest tallies of DACA participants as of March were California, Texas and Nevada.
By comparison, fewer than 100 people have signed up for the program in four states, according to figures published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The total number of people eligible to participate in DACA is much higher. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that only 68 percent of "immediately eligible" youth have applied and been approved, and more than 600,000 additional immigrants could potentially become eligible once they turn 15 years old or meet education requirements.
Immigrants from Mexico account for the vast majority of recipients -- about 81 percent of total participants since the program’s inception.
DACA’s fate further carries major implications for school systems. Nearly 4 million children of unauthorized immigrants were enrolled in K-12 U.S. public and private schools in 2014, according to Pew Research Center estimates. That’s more than 7 percent of all K-12 students nationally. Immigration advocates warn that ending the program could deter families from enrolling students in school.
The Department of Homeland Security announced it would no longer process new DACA applications after Tuesday. Current recipients seeking to renew their status must do so by Oct. 5., and renewal lasts for two years.
DACA Recipients, Renewals by State
|State||Individuals Initially Approved||Renewals Approved||Total|
|District of Columbia||764||1,049||1,813|