How Young Immigrants, Communities, and States Benefit from President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Tom K. Wong, University of California, San Diego

The Obama administration has instituted limited benefits for undocumented youth brought to this country as children – but legal battles in Texas have put full implementation on hold. As Wong shows, youth affected by the program are an economic boon to the United States.


In a new report sponsored by the National Immigration Law Center and the Center for American Progress, Tom Wong refutes claims by Texas authorities that their state would suffer economic hardship from the implementation of policies – such as a mandate to issue driver’s licenses – as part of the Obama administration’s plan to defer deportations for specific groups of undocumented residents. The report documents strikingly positive effects from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – benefits for undocumented youth and for the states where they live.

Young people in the program are living, working, and pursuing higher education in the U.S. communities that have allowed them to stay, investing their higher wages in local economies and channeling their aspirations and energies into building stronger families and communities.

In two previous briefs, Wong contrasts 2013 Senate and House bills on immigration, and explains why legislation to create a path to citizenship for undocumented Americans encounters so many roadblocks in Congress.

Tom K. Wong is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California San Diego, and Director of the International Migration Studies Program Minor. He is the creator of the CIR Blog, which predicts support and opposition to comprehensive immigration reform among all 535 current members of Congress. Wong is also on the leadership committee of the California Immigrant Policy Center and on the advisory council of Unbound Philanthropy.

August 2015