OCTOBER 1, 2021 — 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.
According to Jones’ analysis, DACA beneficiaries experienced a substantial increase in college enrollment, an increase in the completion of a four-year degree, more opportunities for entry into professional jobs, and an increase in personal growth compared to Dreamers. Notably:
“In other words, a bachelor’s degree was valuable for DACA beneficiaries but actually detrimental for Dreamers,” Jones said. “This finding is valuable in that it gives us a glimpse of the future of these arrivals if DACA is definitively terminated.”
Currently, DACA protection is at risk due to a lack of comprehensive immigration reform. According to Jones, those that will lose out on DACA protection will be at risk of losing additional social mobility and their positive contribution to the American economy as a consequence.
Jones examined two data sets from the American Community Survey (ACS), an annual census that asks specifically about education, employment, internet access and transportation—characteristics not measured by the 2020 decennial census. The survey measured the change in socioeconomic characteristics of DACA beneficiaries compared to Dreamers.
This DACA analysis illustrates the divergence in the career advancement between DACA recipients and Dreamers. The latter group faces limited career mobility and stagnating income while DACA beneficiaries show significant career progression with attainment of more professional jobs and rising income.
“It will be a travesty if these benefits are dashed because of continued political polarization that has prevented passage of the Dream Act by Congress, or passage of local and state laws that enable Dreamers and the ‘DACAmented’ to improve their human capital,” Jones added.
UTSA is an urban serving research university that is committed to tackling society’s grand challenges. Its academic and research specialties include health, cybersecurity, fundamental futures and social-economic transformation.
The UTSA University Career Center invites you to attend the STEM Career Expo from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feburary 8. Meet, connect and recruit UTSA students and alumni.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom, HSU 1.104-1.106
The UTSA University Career Center invites you to attend the All Majors Career Expo from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feburary 8. Meet, connect and recruit UTSA students.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom, HSU 1.104-1.106
This competition is for students who are working on a project and prototype and want to assess the market opportunity and commercial potential of their technology in a risk-free environment.Science and Engineering Building, SEB 1.150G
Citation managers such as Zotero® can help you store and organize the citations you find during your research. Zotero can also generate bibliographies in various styles, insert in-text citations and allow you to share sources with collaborators.Virtual event
Chiquita Collins, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at UT Health San Antonio, will virtually engage in conversation regarding the 2023 Black History Month theme, “Resistance. Persistence. Excellence.”Virtual event
The Carlos Alvarez College of Business and the Alvarez Student Success Center will host their Second Annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium. The theme for this year is inclusive leadership. The featured keynote speaker will be Melissa Majors, author of “The 7 Simple Habits of Inclusive Leaders.”H-E-B Student Union Ballroom, HSU 1.106
Join your fellow Roadrunners for the annual Heart Health Walk. If you can’t meet up on campus, get outside and walk for at least 10 minutes at 9 a.m. Walkers are encouraged to wear red and post their pictures to Instagram using the hashtag #28DaysOfHeartAtUTSA.Rowdy Statue, Sombrilla Plaza
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.