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Immigrants and Refugees

Topic Guide on Immigrants and Refugees - their plight, resources, and the laws around immigration

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DACA = Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.” - Department of Homeland Security

On inauguration day, the new Biden Administration issued a statement to preserve and fortify DACA. This presidential action eliminated the previous administrations threat (see below) on the DACA population and reinstated applications for DACA status. "Biden Administration Day One Immigration Actions" National Immigration Law Center January 28, 2021


On September 5, 2017, President Trump canceled the DACA program and asked Congress to replace it with legislation before the policy expires in March 2018. "Trump Moves to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Act" New York Times September 5, 2017.



DACA = temporary work permits

CA Dream Act = CA financial aid

AB 540 = in-state tuition

Renew your DACA: USCIS webpage

 Photo of 2006 Immigrant Rights March



Researchers in social sciences have studied the participants in DACA to examine the program's effects on a number of social and economic outcomes. The research studies here (from academic journals) include links to full datasets that are available for download.


Photo of 2006 Immigrant Rights March by Kevin Coles (CC)

Pope, N. G. (2016). The effects of DACAmentation: The impact of deferred action for childhood arrivals on unauthorized immigrants. Journal of Public Economics143, 98–114.
Parital abstract:  This paper looks at how DACA affects DACA-eligible immigrants' labor market outcomes. I use a difference-in-differences design for unauthorized immigrants near the criteria cutoffs for DACA eligibility. I find DACA increases the likelihood of working by increasing labor force participation and decreasing the unemployment rate for DACA-eligible immigrants.
Dataset via ScienceDirect

 Wadhia, S. S. (2013). My great FOIA adventure and discoveries of deferred action cases at ICE (No. ID 2195758). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.
Abstract: This article describes my adventures in FOIA litigation and analyzes deferred action data collected informally by 24 ICE field offices between October 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. This article also offers recommendations for the agency on data collection, recordkeeping, and transparency in deferred action cases.
Dataset via Harvard Dataverse.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Response to January 2018 Preliminary Injunction - Archived Content

USCIS Reaction to Memorandum July 28, 2020 

Book Resources