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Survey: DACA Improving Lives Of Young Immigrants In U.S.

Evening Edition

A nationwide survey by UC San Diego professor Tom Wong shows recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are getting better jobs, earning higher wages and pursuing higher education.

Aired 7/9/15 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Survey: DACA Improving Lives Of Young Immigrants

GUESTS:

Tom Wong, political science assistant professor, UC San Diego

Ginger Jacobs, immigration attorney

Peter Nunez, former U.S. attorney in San Diego

Transcript

Aired 7/10/15 on KPBS News.

A nationwide survey by UC San Diego professor Tom Wong shows recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are getting better jobs, earning higher wages and pursuing higher education.

A new nationwide survey shows recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are getting better jobs, earning higher wages and going to college.

DACA is a policy that gives temporary protections to certain people who came to the U.S. illegally as children. It also offers two-year work permits. President Barack Obama's began the program in 2012.

The survey was conducted online by UC San Diego professor Tom Wong, the liberal think tank Center for American Progress and the National Immigration Law Center, which supports the DACA program.

Researchers said of the 467 DACA recipients surveyed, almost 70 percent reported getting a job with better pay post-DACA.

Wong told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday that the survey shows DACA stabilized or improved their lives in the U.S.

“What we’re finding is DACA not only improves the lives of undocumented youth but makes improvements (in their lives) over time,” Wong said.

Additional findings include:

• 89 percent said they got a driver's license or state ID card.

• 92 percent said they are pursuing education opportunities.

• 21 percent said they bought a car.

• 96 percent said they bought car insurance.

Wong said the poll is part of a scientific study underway that will follow over several years 100,000 people living in the U.S. illegally as they apply and receive deferred action.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 665,000 people have received DACA since it began three years ago.

The survey comes ahead of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing Friday in New Orleans where a panel of judges will hear arguments on Obama's executive actions on immigration. Obama hopes to expand the DACA program and offer temporary protection to the parents of those in the U.S. legally, but it was halted by a judge earlier this year after 26 states sued the federal government.

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