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11th Anniversary of DACA, the Future of Citizenship Status

Posted by Sara Cooper | Aug 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

With the initiation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under the Obama Administration hitting 11 years yesterday, opportunities have expanded for recipients that were not possible before.

Obama had described prospective DACA recipients as “young people who study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, are friends with our kids, and pledge allegiance to our flag.”

Everyone in this country that has put in their efforts for civic duty and alliance is an American that deserves assistance and support, both citizen and non-citizen alike.

Many DACA recipients today are now adults, building careers and establishing families. Even though many recipients have completely transformed their lives and contribute highly to society, the policy itself has not been up to par due to legal challenges that are working hard on taking it away in absolute.

This policy has beyond benefited so many lives has now been filled with uncertainty of whether or not this country will be a long-lasting home for them all.

When the policy was rolled out, the majority of DACA recipients were in high school or beginning to attend higher education programs.

According to estimates, “The average age of DACA recipients in 2012 was 21 years old.” They further explain that nearly half of approved applicants were enrolled in high school or college, whereas the majority had participated in the work force.

With recipients mostly pursuing an education or starting their career, the average income for DACA recipients was $4000 a year.

Now, at least 86 percent of the initial group of DACA recipients from 2012 now is involved in the labor force while less than 10 percent is enrolled in a college or university program. reports that nearly all DACA recipients, 99 percent, have graduated from high school, and 48 percent have attained at least some college education.

DACA has since contributed $108 billion to the economy and $33 billion in combined taxes.

Recipients have families, homes they have worked hard getting, and developing lives that have been advanced because of DACA. More than 835,000 people have relied on DACA for work authorizations and protections from deportations in part of the 11 years the policy has existed, but this should not be the end. This has become a necessity for families and individuals that surviving under poor policy and harmful politicians that have not strengthened legislative protections that need to be indefinite.

Lots of DACA recipients come from Mexico (81 percent) and mostly reside from California and Texas with the remaining all over the U.S. This country has been the only home many have ever known, with very few leaving the DACA program.

More than three-quarters of DACA recipients participate in the labor force, contributing $13.3 billion to the national economy annually, with many being a part of mixed-status families. This brings DACA recipients in connection to a great amount of the nation's population, from neighbors to coworkers.

As said, without this policy, hundreds of thousands would not have access higher education, start their careers, or enjoy the relative stability to start their families.

The Trump Administration attempted to remove DACA protections completely from recipients, a battle that we see in the Supreme Court right now.

In fact, estimates that as many as 400,000 people currently without DACA status are eligible to receive the policy's benefits but cannot have their application processed since U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen vacated the 2012 DACA policy memo in July 2021. 

Renewing DACA status is still permitted, however there is always the possibility that it can be voided in the near future. These renewals can be stopped as soon as 2024.

According to, if renewals were to stop, thousands of jobs would be lost and more than 1,000 U.S. citizen family members of DACA recipients would face family separation each and every day for two years.

The pathway for citizenship should not be an impossibility, and one where there is lack of protections in processing.

With hundreds of thousands of undocumented folks that are eligible to apply for DACA because they had entered the United States after the policy's cutoff date, not being provided those protections for work authorization and avoidance of deportation.

Family separation is still a risk for recipients that have undocumented family members, with why the importance of extending the possibility to become a citizen for the whole family unit.

In his speech announcing the policy, President Obama declared of DACA, “Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act.” However, Congress has failed to do that, but it doesn't mean there is the only choice of giving up.

Here is great words for what has to say about the future of citizenship status for DACA recipients:

“Congress can act with urgency to provide permanent legislative protections to hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients. The passing of another DACA anniversary affirms a critical point: the only permanent solution for DACA recipients, their families, their colleagues, and other undocumented individuals is for Congress to pass legislation providing a pathway to citizenship. With the termination of the policy possible through the courts, there is no more time to waste. DACA recipients have been forced to live their lives in two-year increments. The time is now to provide certainty to DACA recipients, their families, and the communities who rely on them. Congress must act without further delay.”

More information: DACA Anniversary: 11 Years of Growth & Success -

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