DACA Participation Remains Strong

New and renewed enrollment in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program continues with 16,600 new enrollees through June this year and 117,400 renewals.The numbers represent around 60 percent of approved new and renewing enrollees during the same period in 2017.

Instituted under President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA provides work permits as well as protection from deportation in 2-year increments for enrollees in the program. The program, which extends to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, faced termination last fall when President Donald Trump announced plans to end DACA protections. In January of this year, a federal judiciary granted an injunction that required continuance of the program. In April, a federal judge issued an order requiring the government to continue accepting new applications.

Despite judicial efforts to protect the program, plenty of legal rancor around DACA still exists. In California, “DACA recipients who come into contact with law enforcement have been at risk of losing their status,” according to a news report. The issue, which spurred a class-action lawsuit, “references multiple instances where recipients were notified that they’d been removed from the program after routine police encounters like traffic stops, even though they hadn’t been convicted of a crime.” In February, a judge ruled DACA recipients are entitled to an explanation and also the opportunity to respond before DACA protections a revoked.

In Texas, a court case “could once again allow the government to cancel the program.” The case involves Department of Justice attorneys who argue the DACA program violates federal immigration law. “The issue is widely expected to be brought to the Supreme Court, which declined to rule on the issue earlier this year while the various cases worked their way through lower courts.”

Approximately 80 percent of DACA beneficiaries came to the United States from Mexico. Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras make up 9 percent of DACA recipients. Among these beneficiaries, more than 25 percent reside in California while 16 percent live in Texas.

Since the DACA program began nearly 6 years ago, more than 820,000 individuals signed up for the program. Currently, only around 700,000 individuals participate as DACA recipients, only about half the estimated total of eligible immigrants.