The US Supreme Court will hear arguments today about the legality of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and whether the Trump administration acted within the law two years ago when it moved to end the program.
The DACA program was created in June 2012 and provided protection from deportation for certain undocumented youth. In some cases, having DACA status allowed young people to qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid — increasing their access to higher education.
But in September 2017, President Donald Trump ordered his administration to stop renewing temporary work permits for DACA recipients.
A flurry of lawsuits ensued. While courts consider the cases, current or previous DACA recipients can apply for renewal. Yet individuals with DACA status are not guaranteed reentry if they leave the country, and would-be first-time applicants remain shut of out the program — leaving many undocumented students in limbo.
So who are the DACA recipients? Data published by the Pew Research Center in September 2017 offered this snapshot:
- As of Sept. 4, 2017, roughly 690,000 unauthorized immigrants were enrolled in the program. Altogether, around 800,000 young people have received DACA benefits since the program’s inception.
- The majority of DACA recipients have Latin American roots. Nearly 80 percent of individuals enrolled in the program were born in Mexico. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and South Korea are the next top countries of origin among DACA recipients.
- Nearly half (45 percent) of DACA recipients live in just two states — California and Texas.Other states with significant DACA populations include Illinois (5 percent), New York (5 percent), Florida (4 percent), and Arizona (4 percent).
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