United We Dream Congress 2014


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Frequently Asked Questions

DACA

93% of survey respondents report having applied for DACA, and 95% of those individuals have already been approved. Therefore, our survey of 1,302 individuals with DACA provides us with concrete data that can inform the DACA renewal process, as well as provide insights about the potential impact the renewal process may have on first-time applicants.

DACA Improves the Financial Well-being of Undocumented Millennials

Many undocumented youth live in financially vulnerable positions. Indeed, over three-quarters (77%) of our respondents report annual personal incomes below $25,000 and only 20% report having enough personal income to meet monthly bills and expenses. However, the survey reveals that DACA is improving the financial well-being of undocumented youth. A full 70% of respondents began their first job or moved to a new job upon receiving deferred action. 46% say that DACA has enabled them to become more financially independent and 51% say that they have been able to better help their family financially.

DACA Is An Integration Success Story

Our survey asked a series of questions about identity and belonging post-DACA. Here, 64% of respondents report feeling a greater sense of belonging in the United States after becoming “DACAmented.” Moreover, 64% say that they are no longer afraid because of their immigration status. 35% even report becoming more involved in their communities. And while many of our respondents make clear that their identities are not defined by “papers” 84% now have their driver’s license or state identification card. In addition, 23% report returning to school, 20% report buying their first car and 37% report getting their first credit card. As the youth leaders of the United We Dream Network understand very well, surrounding these numbers are tremendous psychological benefits, which cannot be quantified. But at the same time, 66% continue to feel anxious because they have undocumented family members or friends who do not have DACA and thus remain vulnerable.

Undocumented Millennials Trust Peer Organizations

An “endorsement experiment” was embedded in the survey to analyze who undocumented millennials trust when it comes to sensitive issues about their immigration status. Respondents were randomly assigned into one of three experimental conditions where they were asked to indicate their level of trust in the following statement: “the government will not use the personal information given to them on legalization applications for immigration enforcement purposes.” When the statement is made with no endorser (the control group), levels of trust are the lowest. However, when United We Dream is the endorser of the statement, levels of trust increase by 69.4% over the control group. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also inspires an increase sense of trust, as levels of trust increase by 21.4% over the control group when USCIS is the endorser.

DACA Renewal Engagement is Key to Reaching First Time Applicants

While nearly all survey respondents report having DACA, a full 40% report knowing individuals who are eligible for DACA, but who have not yet applied. As United We Dream organizers and service providers struggle to find first time applicants, the data shows significant opportunities to engage DACA renewal applicants in the recruitment of first time applicants. If coupled with increased fee assistance, peer-to-peer outreach could have a particularly strong impact.

DACA’s $465 Bi-Annual Recurring Fee Imposes a Significant Burden

Respondents, on average, identify $200 as being an affordable DACA renewal fee. Paying for DACA is a family and community expense with just over half (51%) of respondents reporting that they paid for their fees on their own. The recurring nature of DACA application fees is an increasingly large financial burden. 36% of respondents report that the costs associated with their first DACA application caused a delay in applying for the program—the average length of this delay was three months. 51% say that a $465 fee to renew DACA will impose a financial hardship on themselves or their families. This financial hardship, coupled with the hard deadline for DACA renewals, could very well impact DACA retention rates. It is also important to note that 40% of respondents report knowing someone who is eligible for DACA but who has not yet applied because they can’t afford the $465 fee.

Less than a Third Applied for DACA Without Assistance

The assumption that most immigration benefit applicants self-file appears to be false for DACA, as only 30% of respondents submitted their DACA application on their own. This means that the large majority of respondents either attended a free DACA workshop or clinic, had access to free or lowcost legal service provider, or paid for legal assistance (e.g., an immigration attorney). Indeed, 32% of respondents attended a free DACA workshop or clinic and 40% paid for legal assistance (note: some attended DACA workshops and also paid for legal assistance). The appetite for community and professional assistance with DACA, coupled with a possible decrease in financial support for such assistance, could pose a significant problem during the renewal process and even lead some to seek unqualified assistance.

The Undocumented and LGBTQ Experiences Are Interconnected

60% of all respondents say that “being undocumented makes one more appreciative of the struggles and difficulties faced by the gay rights movement”—while only 11.5% disagree—and over half (53%) believe that coming out of the shadows as undocumented shares similarities with coming out of the closet as gay.”

Coming Out As LGBTQ More Difficult Than Coming Out As Undocumented

35% of LGBTQ respondents surveyed have come out as both undocumented and as LGBTQ. Just under a third (32%) have only come out as undocumented, but not as LGBTQ. And only 14% have come out as LGBTQ, but not as undocumented. Of the LGBTQ respondents surveyed, 18% remain in both the undocumented and LGBTQ closets.

Undocumented Millennials Are Open to Both Major Political Parties, But Immigration Reform and Deportations are Crucial Issues

Contrary to popular perception, the vast majority of the undocumented youth surveyed do not identify as Democrat. While just under half of respondents (50%) identify as Democrat, 45% identify as Independent or “Other.” This is the first systematic data that we are aware of that exists on the party identification of undocumented youth. Passing immigration reform is important for whether respondents support either of the two major parties—however, it matters more for the Republican Party. Whereas 41% “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement, “as long as immigration reform is not passed, I cannot support the Democratic Party or its candidates,” 68% feel this way about the Republican Party. Deportations are also an important issue that determines support for the two major parties— however, it matters more for the Democratic Party. Whereas 71% “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement, “whether I support the Democratic Party in the future depends on whether they work to address the issue of the separation of families because of deportation,” 74% of those who identify as Democrat feel this way.

Undocumented Millennials Are Highly Politically and Civically Engaged

Many respondents do not remain in the shadows when it comes to political participation and civic engagement. 41% of respondents participated in a political rally or demonstration compared to just 6% of voters surveyed in the 2012 American National Election Study (ANES). In other words, respondents were 7 times more likely to have participated in a rally or demonstration than average American voters. Respondents were also 3 times more likely than those surveyed in the ANES (60% to 21%) to have sent a message or posted an update on Facebook or Twitter about a political or social issue. Respondents were also 2 times more likely (41% to 21%) to have contacted or tried to contact a member of Congress. If participation and engagement are among the objectives of democracy, many undocumented youth personify this aspiration.

Undocumented Millennials Understand the Privilege of Voting

During the 2012 presidential election nearly half (45%) of respondents shared their stories to emphasize the privilege and importance of voting in order to motivate others to vote. One-fifth (19%) even worked/volunteered to help register people to vote.

Undocumented Millennials Believe They Have the Power to Change Policies

Over half (55%) of respondents feel they can affect what the government does compared to just 21% of those surveyed in the 2012 ANES. In other words, respondents are just under 3 times more likely to feel this sense of political agency compared to average American voters. Moreover, nearly nine-in-ten (88%) agree with the statement, “By working together and organizing we have the power to stop unjust deportations.”

Undocumented Millennials Understand the Power of Coming Out, but Fears Remain

Respondents understand that coming out as undocumented can be empowering. Over half of respondents (55%) “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement, “My undocumented immigration status empowers me to be a more visible and vocal advocate for my community." Moreover, a large majority (81%) feel that it is important to share their immigration status publicly. However, while over half (52%) have publicly shared their undocumented immigration status, many fears remain. Just over one-third of respondents (35%) “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement “If I share my undocumented status publicly with the media or at an action, I may be detained and placed in deportation proceedings.” A slightly higher percentage (37%) “agree” or “strongly agree” that sharing their undocumented immigration status may have negative implications for their families (e.g., “my family may be detained and placed in deportation proceedings”).

Resources

DACA Guide for Teachers
DEEP Educators UndocuKnowledge
DEEP Tuition Equity Map
For-Profit Student Brochure
Just Ask! - Which College is Right for You?
Dreaming Big: What Community Colleges Can Do To Help Undocumented Immigrant Youth Achieve Their Potential.
Graduate! - A financial Aid Guide to Success
¡Gradúate! - Una guía de ayuda financiera para el éxito
Department of Education - Dear Colleague Letter: School enrollment procedures
Departamento de Educación - Estimado Colega - Los procedimientos de inscripción de la escuela
Department of Education- Questions and Answers: School enrollment procedures
Departamento de Educación - Preguntas y Respuestas - Los procedimientos de inscripción de la escuela
Department of Education - Fact sheet on the rights of all children to enroll in school
Departamento de Educación - Información sobre los derechos de todos los niños a matricularse en la escuela
Where to file a complaint with Office of Civil Rights
Higher Education and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Dream University:Life after DACA

National Educators Coming Out Day

On April 9th, DEEP Centers coordinated the first inaugural “National Educator’s Coming Out Day” as part of a national effort to encourage educators that currently work with and support undocumented students educational attainment to publically “come out” in support. The purpose of the day was to begin developing the public momentum and narrative associated with undocumented youths educational attainment rates, and to spark conversations with educational institutions on how they can support undocumented student population

Materials

uwd_deep_v2 uwd_deep_v1

Statements

Tucson Unified School District (AZ)
Sunnyside Unified School District (AZ)
Arizona Hispanic School Administrators Association (AZ)
Northeastern Illinois University
Alamo Colleges
UC Berkeley- Statement by chancellor
University of Austin (TX)
St. Peters University President
American Federation of Teachers
CCCIE
NASPA

Video

Check out photos from Educators Coming out in support of undocumented students

DEEP Centers

DEEP Centers Functional is defined as affiliate leaders are engaging students, educators, and parents with outreach activities and events on a consistent basis (at least once a month), are developing relationships with schools, are building membership via outreach activities,

Locations:

FAFSA & DACA-mented Students

         
I have DACA and I can fill out the FAFSA? Say What! Webinar
I have DACA and I can fill out the FAFSA? Say What! Webinar Powerpoint
FAFSA Guide

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