Do you know the facts?
LAYC staff and youth were devastated at the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It is our hope that in the coming months the US Congress will find a permanent solution for these young people. In light of this change, we hope to answer a few common questions about DACA.
As always, LAYC stands with all youth, no matter their status. LAYC, our staff, and our youth are #HereToStay. Check out the end of the article to see how you can help!
1. Do US voters like the DACA program?
According to Politico, a majority of voters, 58%, think Dreamers should be allowed to stay and become citizens, a step beyond protections afforded by DACA. Another 18% of voters think DACA youth should be allowed to stay and become legal residents, but not citizens. Only 15% of voters think DACA recipients should be removed from the country.1
2. What was the effect of DACA on the US economy while it was in place? How does ending the DACA program affect the economy?
An NPR report states, “There is no reason to think DACA recipients have a major deleterious effect on American workers’ employment chances.” Actually, many economists believe DACA is actually a boost to the economy.2
A CATO Institute Fellow, Ike Brannon, conducted a study about the DACA program and what the effects will be of ending it. The study “looked at the economic and federal government cost of repealing DACA” and “estimated that the cost to the federal government alone would be about $60 billion over the next 10 years and the overall economic impact would be a little over $200 billion.” Mr. Brannon surmises that, with this repeal, productive workers will be forced into working illegally to make ends meet, contributing less to the U.S. economy.3 An Immigrant Legal Resources report found that 87% of DACA recipients are currently employed by U.S. businesses and “ending DACA will result in an estimated $3.4 billion in costs to employers and the loss of $24.6 billion to Social Security and Medicare over a decade.” 4
3. What about the legality of DACA?
Politifact, a trusted fact-checking resource, has confirmed that no court has held that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is unconstitutional.5
4. Why should I care about Dreamers or DACA?
DACA recipients are more than just their economic contributions to the US. They are our neighbors, friends, coworkers, community, and family. They are Americans.
Many DACA youth are now living in fear because the program is ending.6 A young Dreamer shared this with the Gadsen Times, “People don’t understand, they don’t get that these are human beings, these aren’t statistics, and there are faces to these stories. This is no longer about politics, it’s about compassion and humanity and the humans…with stories to share.” 7
5. I have DACA. What should I know now that the program is ending?
- Your current DACA is valid until its expiration date. Even once your work permit expires, your social security number is yours for life.
- To determine when your DACA and work permit expires, look at the bottom of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
- USCIS will not accept or process first-time applications anymore. Advance Parole to travel abroad is no longer available.
- If you have a permit that will expire between now and March 5, 2018, you must apply for a two-year renewal of your DACA by October 5, 2017! Check out LAYC’s scholarship to help with costs.
- Even when your work permit expires, you have rights. Just in case, you should also make a safety plan with your family.
6. What can I do to help Dreamers and DACA recipients?
Thanks for asking! First, find out who your representatives are here. Call them daily! Urge them to support the DREAM Act and BRIDGE Act. The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants who have graduated high school, are pursuing higher education, or serving in the military.8 In the interim, the BRIDGE Act would provide employment authorization and protection from deportation for those who currently hold, or are eligible for, DACA.9
You can also donate to LAYC’s Dreamer Fund. This scholarship fund helps youth cover immigration-related expenses, including the $495 re-application fee for DACA. After October 5th, the Dreamer Fund will assist youth with other immigration-related expenses, such as legal visits and other immigration fees. LAYC’s Dreamer Fund has already awarded 13 scholarships to young people seeking help. Donate here.