1.76 Million Dreamers Could Gain Relief from Deportation

As many as 1.76 million unauthorized immigrants under the age of 31 who were brought to the United States as children could gain a two-year grant of relief from deportation, according to updated Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that take into account the more detailed eligibility guidelines outlined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on August 3, 2012.

The estimates are up from the 1.39 million figure that MPI released on June 15 — reflecting the updated DHS guidelines that youth lacking a high school or GED degree would be eligible to apply for deferred action as long as they have re-enrolled by the date of their application. MPI estimates 350,000 unauthorized young adult immigrants (ages 16 and older) without a high school degree or GED could potentially be eligible for relief from deportation if they meet the enrollment criteria.

The Fact Sheet, Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy, provides new and updated estimates on the age, state of residence, educational attainment, country and region of birth, workforce participation and gender of the 1.76 million prospective beneficiaries, often referred to as DREAMers because the criteria for the deferred action initiative largely parallel the requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act), which has been introduced in Congress in various forms since 2001.

Using Current Population Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, MPI estimates as many as 1.76 million people who could be at risk of being deported in the future or who are already in removal proceedings could gain deferred action as a result of the Obama administration policy that was announced on June 15, 2012.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, which will decide applications on a case-by-case basis, will offer a two-year grant of reprieve from deportation as well as work authorization for unauthorized immigrants who were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 and who can demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:

  • · Entered theUnited Statesbefore the age of 16
  • · Have continuously resided in theUnited Statessince June 15, 2007 and up to the present time, and were physically present on June 15, 2012 and at the time of application
  • · Are currently in school, have graduated from high school or earned a GED, or are honorably discharged veterans of theUSarmed forces (including the Coast Guard)
  • · Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors; or otherwise pose a threat to public safety or national security

Entered the country illegally or overstayed their visa prior to June 15, 2012.

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