National Survey Results Find Executive Action Is Beneficial for Economy and Society

October 18, 2016

Juan Gastelum, NILC, 213-375-3149, [email protected]
Tanya Arditi, CAP, 202-741-6277, [email protected]

National Survey Results Find Executive Action Is Beneficial for Economy and Society

WASHINGTON — Those who received work authorization through the Obama administration’s executive actions have improved their economic situation, stimulated the economy, and become breadwinners for their families, according to a new survey released today. The Center for American Progress, the National Immigration Law Center, and United We Dream worked with University of California, San Diego, professor Tom Wong to conduct a national survey of more than 1,000 beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. This program provides certain immigrants who came to the United States as children with protection from deportation and work authorization for a two-year period, which can be renewed.

“As we continue to reach out and survey DACA recipients, it is increasingly clear that DACA is having significant and positive effects that extend beyond the individual recipients,” said Wong. “Yes, DACA is improving the lives of recipients by opening up new employment and educational opportunities. We also see in this latest study that DACA recipients are creating larger footprints in the broader economy. DACA recipients are starting their own businesses, earning higher wages, buying their first cars, and some are even buying their first homes. Importantly, we also see that DACA recipients are poised to contribute across many sectors in the economy. The majors, specializations, and training that DACA recipients are pursuing include early childhood education, biochemistry, computer science, creative writing, graphic design, neuroscience, nursing, social work, and urban planning, among many others.”

This year’s survey shows that communities and state economies have benefited from DACA as well. More than half of the survey respondents have purchased their first car since receiving DACA. These purchases provide a substantial tax boon for individual states and signal increased economic mobility.

“In my family, some of us qualify for DACA, like my sister and I. Some of us are still undocumented, like my mom. And some of us are U.S. citizens like my two sisters who are planning to vote this year. In fact, this survey shows that fully 41 percent of DACA recipients like me have a U.S. citizen family member, like my sisters, who are over the age of 18 and 80 percent of them are registered to vote. When politicians talk about ‘executive action’ I want them to know that DACA is what Executive Action looks like,” added Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director for United We Dream.

“The political, economic, and moral case for DACA is win-win-win,” said Ignacia Rodriguez, co-author of the survey and immigration policy advocate with the National Immigration Law Center. “Whether you know someone with DACA or not, we all benefit from their increased tax dollars, civic participation, and economic mobility. We hope that politicians—and the courts—pay attention to this important data.”

Survey responses were collected from September 8 to September 26, 2016. This research builds upon an initial survey of DACA recipients conducted in June 2015.

“Since our last survey in 2015, unauthorized young people with DACA are taking advantage of even more opportunities and are financially contributing to the well-being of their families,” said Tom Jawetz, co-author of the survey and Vice President for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress. “Because of DACA, these young people are earning higher wages, purchasing cars and homes, and starting businesses—all of which translate into greater federal, state, and local tax revenues.”

Read the full survey results here.

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Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center is the only advocacy organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. NILC advances its mission through policy analysis, litigation, education, and advocacy. Over the past three decades, NILC has won landmark legal decisions protecting fundamental rights, thwarted policies that would have devastated the lives of low-income immigrants and their family members, and advanced major policies that reinforce our nation’s values of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants. You can find more about UWD online at