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Study: Gains Among Young Immigrants On Deferred Deportation

A new study finds solid economic gains among young immigrant adults who obtained deferred deportations under an Obama 2012 policy.
Image: Young people wait in line to enter the o
Young people wait in line to enter the offices of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) on August 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California, on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP - Getty Images

An American Immigration Council study released Monday found that young immigrant adults who were able to work and study in the U.S. without fear of deportation saw solid economic gains, especially among those attending a four-year college or those who have graduated from college.

The study, by Harvard researchers Roberto Gonzáles and Angie M. Bautista-Chavez, surveyed almost 2,700 young adults who qualified for and received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program initiated by the Obama administration in 2012. It found almost six-in-ten had been able to obtain new jobs and 45 percent reported an increase in earnings, boosting the economy through increasing the tax base. Almost sixty percent had obtained driver's licenses, which facilitated education and employment options.

Moreover, almost half of young immigrant adults who got deferred deportation had opened their first bank account and about a third obtained credit cards. More than two-thirds of DACA recipients surveyed were employed. About 21 percent had obtained health insurance since becoming eligible for deferred deportation, likely through employment-based plans or college enrollment in some states that allow it.

The study did find, however, that applying for deferred deportation was more prevalent among young immigrant adults with community connections, more schooling and resources. The study's authors recommend increased efforts to reach young people who have not applied.
As of March 2014, 673,417 young people have applied to the program and 553,197 have been approved, according to the report.
--Sandra Lilley