Dreamers is the term used to refer to the young people impacted by the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA executive order was passed by President Obama in 2012 after Congress failed to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act for over a decade. The bipartisan DREAM Act and DACA program were designed to provide protections like deferred deportation and work authorization for over 800,000 young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children since June 15, 2007.
Dreamers a decade after DACA
Over 80% of DACA recipients were born in Mexico. Nearly 30% of Dreamers live in California, over 15% live in Texas and the rest live throughout the U.S. Dreamers’ median income has increased by over seven-fold from 2012, contributing nearly $110 billion to the economy and over $30 billion in combined taxes. The high school graduation rate for Dreamers is currently around 99% and nearly 50% have some college education. Close to 40% of Dreamers are married and nearly 50% have children.
Understanding more about DACA
Before the DACA program was rescinded by the Trump administration in 2017, Dreamers were eligible for deferred deportation, work permits, Social Security cards and driver’s licenses. The Supreme Court overruled how Trump improperly ended DACA, allowing the Biden’s administration’s updated version of the program to continue in limited form. New applications are prohibited until Congress passes legislation or DACA goes before the Supreme Court again. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, over 580,000 people were enrolled in DACA as of December 2022.
More than one million Americans live in a household with at least one Dreamer. The average Dreamer has lived in the U.S. for 24 years. Over 100,000 Americans are currently married to DACA recipients. The average age for Dreamers has increased from 21 in 2012 to 29 as of December 2022. More than 75% of DACA recipients are participating in the labor force, contributing over $13.3 billion to the U.S. economy each year.