The Long-Term Impact of DACA: Forging Futures Despite DACA’s Uncertainty

Roberto G. Gonzales, Sayil Camacho, Kristina Brant & Carlos Aguilar
Date of Publication: 
November, 2019
Source Organization: 

This report presents results from the UnDACAmented Research Project, which examined how young people have experienced their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. This status provided them with temporary status and work authorization. The research is based on sustained contact with 408 DACA recipients in six states from 2013 through 2019. It details both the opportunities that DACA has provided to young people in the United States and the remaining obstacles that beneficiaries and their families face. DACA beneficiaries have greater opportunities for social mobility, especially through access to higher education. Gaining confidence to succeed in high school, they are able to go on to community college, 4-year colleges, licensure programs, and graduate and professional schools. These opportunities have in turn allowed them to gain professional employment and thus independence while also supporting their often undocumented family members. They are healthier, both physically and mentally, as access to health care and some alleviation from anxiety come with DACA status. These benefits, however, still vary by state, as some states do not allow recipients to attend universities at in-state tuition rates and some do not allow them to obtain professional licenses. DACA recipients continue to experience uncertainty, especially in the current state of limbo as the program awaits a Supreme Court judgment, causing anxiety surrounding not only their families’ status but their own vulnerability to deportation. Overall, the study affirms the many positive results of the DACA program and makes recommendations to address the limits that still remain. (Karen D. Caplan, Ph.D., Rutgers University -- Newark)

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Gonzales, R., Camacho, S., Brant, K., & Aguilar, C. (2019). The long-term impact of DACA: Forging futures despite DACA’s uncertainty. Immigration Initiative at Harvard, Special Report 1(2019). Retrieved from