This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program taking effect. It allows some immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children to stay in the country and get a two-year work permit.
An analysis by the Migration Policy Institute found that nationwide, an average of 49 percent of young people eligible for DACA have applied. In Arizona and Texas, rates are higher: 58 and 54 percent, respectively.
But among the criteria is that applicants must be in school, have a high school diploma, or a GED. Sarah Hooker, a policy analyst with the Institute, says 423,000 people could apply for DACA if they met that requirement.
“For that population, re-enrolling in school or in some type of adult education or training program is a significant hurdle that needs to be confronted before moving on to applying for DACA," Hooker said.
But Hooker says for young people who aren’t yet eligible to apply, the chance of being safe from deportation and able to enter the formal labor market could motivate them to stay in school.