A recent study conducted by Tom K. Wong from the University of California San Diego, United We Dream, National Immigration Law Center, and Center for American Progress reports that 97 percent of recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status are either employed or pursuing higher education. The online survey was conducted in August 2017 and had over 3,000 respondents. This is the largest and most recent study about the current employment and educational status of the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients.
91 percent of the DACA recipients responding to the survey are currently employed. Among respondents age 25 and older, the employment rate jumps to 93 percent. After receiving DACA, 69 percent of respondents reported moving to a job with better pay; 54 percent moved to a job that “better fits my education and training”; 54 percent moved to a job that “better fits my long-term career goals”; and 56 percent moved to a job with better working conditions. Higher wages are not just important for recipients and their families but also for tax revenues and economic growth at the local, state, and federal levels.
At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies – including Walmart, Apple, General Motors, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Wells Fargo, among others – employ DACA recipients.
5 percent of respondents started their own business after receiving DACA. Among respondents 25 years and older, this climbs to 8 percent. The rate of starting a business among Americans as a whole is 3.1 percent, meaning that DACA recipients are outpacing the general population in terms of business creation.
45 percent of respondents also are currently in school. Among those currently in school, 72 percent are pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher. 36 percent of respondents 25 years and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Importantly, among those who are currently in school, a robust 94 percent said that, because of DACA, “I pursued educational opportunities that I previously could not.”
Updated: The Department of Homeland Security announced today that has rescinded the DACA program, phasing it out over the next six months. This action puts pressure on Congress to enact legislation that would continue the program.