UTSA study: DACA protection leads to sizeable economic gains

October 1, 2021
UTSA study: DACA protection leads to sizeable economic gains

A new study by a researcher at The University of Texas at San Antonio shows the risks of allowing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to expire.

The DACA program, an immigration protection program established in 2012 through an executive order by President Barack Obama, offers Dreamers—the informal term for young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children—an opportunity to pursue their educational and career goals and contribute to the American economy. By 2020, more than 800,000 DACA-qualified Dreamers had applied for DACA and had been approved.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Richard Jones, a professor in the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts’ Department of Political Science and Geography, followed the economic gains of over a quarter of a million immigrants, including DACA beneficiaries versus Dreamers—immigrants who did not qualify for the DACA program. Jones tracked the two groups along several measures, such as income, professional employment and four-year degree completion.

Jones’ study was published in the September 2021 edition of Social Science Quarterly.

His research showed that immigrants with DACA protection showed sizeable economic gains versus the gains experienced by Dreamers. In all indicators, the quantifiable gains in socioeconomic factors for DACA recipients were between two and three times greater than for Dreamers over the same timeframe.



- Milady Nazir