United We Dream Releases Major Survey of Immigrant Youth With DACA

United We Dream Press Releases


WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, United We Dream released “A Portrait of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Recipients: Challenges and Opportunities Three Years Later”, a survey first featured on Vox, of more than 1,750 immigrant youth with DACA.  

In 2012, after a tireless campaign led by immigrant youth, President Obama announced DACA, a program that currently protects more than 700,000 people from deportation and provides them 2-year, renewable work permits.

This survey is one of the largest of its kind, and it takes an in-depth look at life with DACA. The results show that DACA recipients have made great strides and are often the bedrock of economic and social support for their families. They do all of this while still struggling to find economic opportunities and the tools and information they need to navigate health care, workforce, financial, and educational institutions.

Among the key findings:

  • Over two-thirds of respondents help their family financially by paying rent and other bills.
  • Over 80 percent of survey respondents indicated that since DACA, they feel like they are more likely to achieve their career goals.
  • Nearly half of the respondents’ families rely on the DACA recipient for key information about immigration, healthcare, education, etc.
  • Nearly 70 percent of respondents did not have enough income to meet their monthly expenses or could just barely meet them.
  • Over 85 percent of respondents feel that they have been held back from their career goals because of their immigration status.

This is United We Dream’s second nationwide survey of immigrant youth and with its release, UWD is launching an ongoing research initiative on the lives and needs of immigrant youth and families.

Zenen Jaimes Perez, policy analyst of United We Dream issued the following statement,

“This survey highlights the benefits that DACA has had on our community, but also underlines that immigrant youth and their families are still struggling because of economic and social barriers beyond  their immigration status.”

“All immigrants need to have the opportunity to build a foundation to live a dignified and productive life. Currently we’re seeing DACA recipients holding their families up economically without much support.”

“Immigrant youth need more than a work permit. Advocates and policy makers need to think creatively of how to invest in DACA recipients and immigrant youth broadly, this means including them in adequate social insurance programs, boosting employment options, and creating viable workforce development and education benefits that lead to good jobs and good wages.”