Diversity of Dreamers

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Since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program was started five years ago, roughly 800,000 unauthorized immigrants have received work permits. These individuals are sometimes referred to as Dreamers. There are currently almost 700,000 individuals enrolled in the program.

DACA allowed immigrants who came to the US before age 16 a chance to stay in the country to study or work. To do so, they needed to meet certain conditions, such as having a high school degree or a GED and not having a serious criminal conviction.

Survey data show that 91 percent of Dreamers are employed, and most received their job after receiving DACA approval.

Recent data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services offers an overview of the Dreamers and their demographic characteristics.

Most DACA recipients come from Mexico, accounting for about 80 percent. Overall, 94 percent come from Central or South America, while others were born in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.

Nearly half of all DACA recipients are in two states, California and Texas, but they have enrolled in the program in areas throughout the US. The Las Angeles area has the most active enrollees, followed by the New York City area, Dallas-Fort Worth, the Houston area, and the Chicago area. In Texas, a large number of Dreamers are also in the Austin area and the McAllen area.

In terms of demographics, most Dreamers are under age 25. In fact, two-thirds of DACA recipients fall into this category. Twenty-four percent are age 26 to 30, and 11 percent are age 31 to 36. Finally, most Dreamers are single, at 83 percent. Fifteen percent are married, and about one percent are divorced or widowed.

As these data show, Dreamers are a diverse group of people, living and working throughout the United States.