Eight out of 10 young people covered by the Deferred Action for Arriving at Childhood (DACA) program are concerned about their “physical safety” if they are forced to return to their country of origin, a study released Thursday revealed.
The survey, the fifth conducted among the so-called “dreamers” by the Center for American Progress and the University of San Diego, among others, reflects that 80% of respondents acknowledged that in their country of birth they would be concerned about their physical safety and that of their family.
The concern rose to 93 percent when it comes to physical, food, health and housing security in their countries of origin. In that sense, 69% of the dreamers surveyed said that they did not have an immediate family member in their country of origin who could help them.
The survey, which was conducted between August 14 and September 6 to a total of 1,105 “dreamers” residing in 40 states and the District of Columbia, also revealed that 41 percent of respondents are concerned about homelessness in their home country.
DACA, enacted by former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), prevented the deportation of some 800,000 people who came to the United States as children, but the Donald Trump Administration considered the measure to be beyond the powers of the executive branch.
Tom K. Wong, author of the study and founder of the Center for U.S. Immigration Policy at the University of San Diego, said that “the data shows that if DACA recipients lose protection, not only will they lose what they have earned in recent years, but their deportation could also put their lives and livelihoods at risk”.
The survey, also sponsored by United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center, shows data related to immigrant youth’s contributions to the national and local economies.
Thus, 96 percent of respondents said they are currently employed or enrolled in school, while 79 percent reported that the higher earnings they have earned from being covered by DACA has given them financial independence.
In fact, 60% bought their first car after receiving the DACA benefit, while 14% bought their first home after managing immigration protection. For 58 %, DACA allowed them to get a better paying job.
“DACA allows immigrants who came here as children and for whom the United States is their home to prosper,” Holly Straut-Eppsteiner, a member of the Center for American Progress, said in a statement.
The poll is released eight weeks before the Supreme Court hears arguments about a series of lawsuits against President Donald Trump’s decision to eliminate DACA.