MPI: As Many as 3.7 Million Unauthorized Immigrants Could Get Relief from Deportation under Anticipated New Deferred Action Program
With Existing DACA Program Included, Anticipated Actions Could Benefit More than 5.2 Million in Total — Nearly Half of U.S. Unauthorized Population
WASHINGTON — As many as 3.7 million unauthorized immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents could apply for temporary relief from deportation under the new deferred action program that President Obama is expected to unveil this week, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates. In addition, widespread reports of apparently imminent changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — which has been in place since 2012 and has provided relief from deportation to more than 580,000 young unauthorized immigrants — could expand the immediately eligible DACA population by 290,000, bringing it to close to 1.5 million.
In total, MPI estimates the anticipated new deferred action program and expanded DACA initiative could benefit as many as 5.2 million people — nearly half of the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States (see table below for national and top state breakdowns).
“The president’s anticipated actions could have a significant effect on the lives of millions of unauthorized immigrants, improving job and educational prospects, the ability to apply for driver’s licenses and expanding engagement in their communities,” said MPI President Michael Fix.
Under the anticipated announcement, 3.7 million parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (aka green card holders) could apply for a grant of relief from deportation and work authorization under a new deferred action program, provided they have lived in the United States for five years or more. The potential DACA changes would reportedly eliminate the age cutoff (currently applicants must be under age 31) and move forward DACA's U.S. residency requirement from 2007 to 2010.
MPI NATIONAL ESTIMATES OF EXECUTIVE ACTION IMPACTS
MPI has produced the following estimates of those potentially eligible for the new and expanded deferred action programs under the anticipated actions, using an innovative methodology to estimate the size and characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population based on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2008 Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP).
Notes: Because a certain number of individuals could appear in more than one category, these estimates model these overlaps. The estimates for the new deferred action program for parents exclude individuals eligible for DACA.
Sources: For DACA estimates: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) by James Bachmeier of Temple University and Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University, Population Research Institute. For estimates of the new deferred action program for parents, sources are: MPI analysis of 2008-2012 ACS data, pooled, and 2008 SIPP data by Bachmeier and Van Hook. For more detail on the methodology, see DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action (Washington, DC: MPI, 2014).
SELECTED STATE ESTIMATES OF EXECUTIVE ACTION IMPACTS
MPI has also developed estimates of the populations potentially eligible for the anticipated deferred action program for key states. The top 20 states are presented here; for data on the 41 states that MPI was able to estimate, see: www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/datahub/US-State-Estimates-unauthorized-populations-executive-action.xlsx
Sources: For DACA estimates: MPI analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2012 ACS and the 2008 SIPP by Bachmeier and Van Hook. For estimates of the new deferred action program for parents: MPI analysis of 2008-2012 ACS data, pooled, and 2008 SIPP data by Bachmeier and Van Hook.
The DACA experience makes clear that not all potentially eligible applicants will apply. MPI has estimated that as of July 2014, 55 percent of those who met the DACA criteria had applied for relief. Application costs, fear of self-identifying as unauthorized or potentially exposing other unauthorized relatives to government scrutiny, and lack of information about the program and its temporary nature were among the barriers.
For more on unauthorized immigrant populations nationally and by state, including size of the overall population, countries of origin, top languages, and more, check out a unique new MPI data tool with detailed profiles for the U.S., 41 states and the District of Columbia: http://migrationpolicy.org/programs/us-immigration-policy-program-data-hub/unauthorized-immigrant-population-profiles.
The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more on MPI, please visit www.migrationpolicy.org.
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