One year ago, on August 15 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive, an initiative announced by President Obama in June of last year, to grant a 2-year reprieve from deportation and work authorization to young unauthorized immigrants. In just under a year more than 500,000 people have applied, and over 400,000 people have been approved—a remarkable feat of mobilization among unauthorized immigrant communities, and for government officials at USCIS. DACA has profoundly changed the lives of those who have received the status, who now have the opportunity to live without fear of deportation, and use their skills and education to work legally.
As DACA turns 1, we will look at the results, successes, and challenges presented by the directive. Professor Tom K. Wong—himself formerly an undocumented immigrant—and a team of researchers at UCSD have analyzed data from over 450,000 DACA applications, received through Freedom of Information Act requests. This data provides a wealth of information through which to understand where DACA applicants come from and where they live in the U.S., as well as other information, such as the gender and age breakdown of the population. Most crucially, this data opens a window to assess just how well the DACA program has been functioning, and where it can be improved.
Please join the Center for American Progress for this important discussion on the first year of DACA.