Although the DREAM Act is the more favorable program, the DACA was the program that truly made a difference. Unfortunately, the DREAM Act legislation was never passed by Congress; however, the DACA was put into action in 2012 by an Obama administration executive order. Since its inception, it has impacted nearly 800,000 young people. And due to the program elimination, these same people will lose their amnesty.
Given this large number of those who will be impacted, I feel it is important to understand who these people are. Who are they? Where do they live, where are they from, and what have they done with their amnesty granted by the DACA? When we take into account the individuals who will be devastated by this program removal, the issue becomes much more tragic. These people are more than just a number, more than just a DACA application, they are people, with their own lives, aspirations, and DREAMS.
Who are the DACA beneficiaries?
Statistically speaking, DACA beneficiaries are young people- the average DACA beneficiary is 24 years old. They are also more likely to be a woman- 52.6 percent of beneficiaries are women while 47.4 percent are men. While DACA beneficiaries may be different regarding their legal status, in other ways, they are normal young Americans. They go to college, have fun with friends, and work normal jobs. Currently, about 700,000 people are active beneficiaries, meaning they currently have a valid status.
Where do DACA beneficiaries live?
The map below shows places in the U.S. where more than 1,000 DACA beneficiaries live. 85.4 percent of beneficiaries are represented on this map, the other 12.6 percent live in places with less than 1,000 other beneficiaries. California and Texas are states with the largest number of beneficiaries- together they house 45 percent of all beneficiaries. The other states with the largest number of beneficiaries are Illinois, New York, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. Contrary to popular belief, places with large immigrant populations do not always yield large numbers of DACA beneficiaries.
Where are DACA beneficiaries from?
There are DACA beneficiaries from more than 150 countries- including 6 of the 7 continents. In reality, the DACA beneficiaries are more diverse than expected. However, there is a large portion of beneficiaries coming from Mexico- 79 percent of the total DACA population were born in Mexico.
So now that we know a little bit more about DACA beneficiaries, I think it is important to acknowledge the individuals and each of their stories. This video published by Time shows how much of an impact the DACA has had on numerous young people.
Personally, these stories fill me with emotion. I am happy they’ve been given the chances provided by the DACA and proud of their accomplishments as fellow Americans, but I am also mad. I am mad that these wonderful people’s lives are at risk. Everything they’ve worked for, from degrees to their homes, is at stake. The DACA elimination is wrong.
We need to support these young people. Call this number to be connected with your representative to ask them to support the DREAM Act. +1 202-851-9273
Singer, Audrey. “Who Are the Active DACA Beneficiaries, and Where Do They Live?” Urban Wire, Urban Institute, 5 Oct. 2017, www.urban.org/urban-wire/who-are-active-daca-beneficiaries-and-where-do-they-live.
Rhodan, Maya. “Undocumented Youths Are Sharing Their Stories Online in Protest.” TIME, TIME Inc., 30 Aug. 2017, time.com/4922121/dreamers-daca-undocumented-online/.