DACA is the Dreamers’ lifeline

Demonstrators protest the elimination of DACA at a September 2017 gathering at UC Berkeley. (Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald)

Adriana and her six-year old daughter are like two peas in a pod, taking walks on the beach together, baking brownies, cuddling at home with a book, and occasionally splurging on a trip to Orange County’s Disneyland Resort.

Arriving from Guatemala when she was five years old, Adriana has always lived here in Orange County. Today, Adriana attends Fullerton College where she is working to get her degree in psychology. She also works full time in the office of a local school district that provides a stable salary, pension, and health benefits for herself and daughter.  Adriana hopes to get a master’s degree in education so that she can teach in a local elementary school where she grew up.

DACA has allowed more than 50,000 parents in California to be stronger and more stable breadwinners and caregivers.

Adriana’s lives in fear of what might happen when her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expires. She will lose her work authorization and with it her job and her protection from deportation. Her daughter, her “whole world,” could lose her mom.

Adriana is not alone. The DACA program has been a lifeline not only for Dreamers themselves, but also for their children. One out of every four DACA recipients is also a parent.

Thousands of immigrants in California have already lost DACA protections.  And every day that passes, hundreds more nationwide lose the protections of DACA. When a parent like Adriana loses DACA, she loses her ability to work, support her family, and contribute fully to her community.  But Adriana could also lose something more profound, a future with her daughter. Without DACA, Adriana will be vulnerable to detention or deportation that could separate her from her daughter.

DACA has allowed more than 50,000 parents in California to be stronger and more stable breadwinners and caregivers. After receiving DACA, more than 2 out of 3 people reported moving to a job with better pay, with hourly wages increasing by 69 percent, from $10.29 per hour to $17.46 per hour. These funds will help keep a safe roof over children’s heads, healthy meals on the table, and provide the economic stability kids need to focus on school.

Parents are also healthier and safer because of DACA. Nearly two out of three DACA recipients have access to employer-based health coverage, which they risk losing when their work authorization expires.  And, more than half of DACA recipients reported moving to a job with better working conditions that more likely supports their career goals. Healthy and safe parents are more stable caregivers, providing children the love and care they need to develop and thrive.

Children whose parents are deported face hardships that lead to reduced school attainment, social exclusion, greater difficulty maintaining relationships, and lower earnings as adults. When parents are no longer afraid of being detained or deported, children can thrive. A study by researchers at Stanford University showed that DACA resulted in more than a 50 percent drop of certain mental health issues like anxiety disorders among the children of DACA recipients.

We need to ask ourselves: Do we want to live in a nation where children like Adriana’s daughter lose their parents, when we had the power to provide a child a loving, stable, home?  For Children Now and those that want children prioritized in this state, the overwhelming and clear answer is no!  It is time for Congress to move forward and pass the Dream Act.

Ed’s Note: Ted Lempert is the president of Children Now. 

  • siglavy auerga

    If only legal law-abiding hardworking non-law-breaking Americans could get more of these jobs instead of having to compete with unfair competition from other countries… If we keep teaching people that they can break the laws with impunity, how do we get them to start abiding by laws they do not like??? If only tax-paying Americans could get congressional consideration and advocacy on the same level that illegal aliens get… Wait, Americans should get it on a better level, shouldn’t they?

  • Armando_Cedillo

    The problem is that DACA isn’t just the lifeline for the current crop of dreamy-eyed illegal aliens but it’s essentially a lure for billions more to come (or get smuggled in by traffickers). Maybe we don’t deport the dreamy-eyed illegals but definitely have to deport their parents – PERMANENTLY. We can never give the dreamers citizenship or the ability to sponsor more foreign nationals. We have to greatly curtail chain migration and gradually reduce the foreign born population percentage to 5% or lower.

  • Michele Ryan

    The Democrats really have no
    respect for the actual citizens of this country. To think they would
    shut down the government for illegal aliens really shows what and who is
    their priority. 2018 citizens will have their say.

    CBO just cme out with a 26 billion dollar price tag for “Dreamers” over
    10 years. Nice. So either write of tweet your congressman or get out
    your check book. Jeff Flake is doing the citizens of Arizona and the
    American taxpayers a great disservice.

    DACA is just like the TPS program (Temporary Protective Status) the goal for Democrats is permanent placement in the U.S. “Delayed”
    or “Temporary” are just terms used to mislead. These are programs used
    by Democrats to import as many refugees from third world country’s as
    they can then fight to keep them permanently. So their answer is pass a
    “Dream act” legalize millions of illegal aliens (DACA.) But they don’t
    want to separate families….. so add another 1-2 million. Same with the
    TPS program. Chain migration. Obama put a warm and fuzzy name on it
    “Dreamers.” Have you noticed the Democrats have actually changed the
    language. It’s not illegal alien anymore its “Immigrant.” They’re not
    adults, they are “Kids” or “children.” what a sales job.

    in four American citizens unemployed. 40,000 veterans homeless and
    unemployed but illegal aliens security is the top priority? and why do
    they demand for a “clean” Dream act? why do they oppose border security?
    you would think DACA woud be happy just getting to stay. The goal is
    obvious, more illegals to cross.

    There is an
    estimated 800,000 DACA recipients in the US. That is 800,000 jobs
    American Citizens don’t have or will be in competition for.

    when you hear of the “contributions” by illegal aliens paying taxes.
    Remember that also is at a cost in jobs citizens should have. Why must
    the citizens of our country have competition for jobs, education in
    their own country from foreign nationals?

    • Michele Ryan

      Some” of the costs associated with illegal immigration.

      cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it
      costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This doesn’t
      even reflect the millions and millions of dollars spent on bilingual
      education teaching illegal aliens to read and speak English. We’ve been
      paying this for decades.

      * CBO (Congressional Budget
      Office) estimates that it will cost the taxpayers 26 Billion over 10
      years in benefits if DACA is legalized.

      *Currently state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer dollars for legal fees to to
      file law suits and in defense of illegal aliens being deported.
      California, Oregon, NY, Wash, Colorado are just some of the states.

      illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their
      countries of origin. This is why Mexico is getting involved in our

      *30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates
      are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At
      $21,000 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison—U do the math.

      Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3
      MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.

      *$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps),WIC, & free school lunches.

  • USDefender

    Dreamers is just that! a stupid dream! Deport every damn one of them! They never had any business here! We were hood-winked by Obama! We have spent billions on TAKING CARE OF KIds who do not belong here! Deport now!

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