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What we know about Dreamers in Georgia


President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But what do we know about these immigrants, especially the ones in Georgia?

The Department of Homeland Security released a report this year detailing the beneficiaries of the DACA program from 2012, when the program first started accepting applications, to March this year.

Nearly 800,000 young immigrants, who are referred to as Dreamers and were brought in illegally by their parents to states all over the U.S., received protection from deportation under the Obama-era initiative.

About 79 percent of them came from Mexico. Nine percent of them were from Central American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In a statement, the president said DACA had caused a “massive surge in unaccompanied minors from Central America” and that some of these young people had gone on to join violent gangs such as MS-13.

To be sure, these numbers show how many DACA applications were approved. The authorities have received more applications, but approval may still be in process.

More than 200,000 of the young immigrants live in California. Georgia figures in the list of top 10 states for DACA population, with a little over 24,000 beneficiaries. DHS received 28,959 applications in total from Georgia during the same period.

DACA beneficiaries by state

222,795

California

124,300

Texas

42,376

Illinois

41,970

New York

32,795

Florida

27,865

Arizona

27,385

North Carolina

24,135

Georgia

22,024

New Jersey

17,843

Washington

222,795

California

124,300

Texas

42,376

Illinois

41,970

New York

32,795

Florida

27,865

Arizona

27,385

North Carolina

24,135

Georgia

22,024

New Jersey

17,843

Washington

222,795

California

124,300

Texas

42,376

Illinois

41,970

New York

32,795

Florida

27,865

Arizona

27,385

North Carolina

24,135

Georgia

22,024

New Jersey

17,843

Washington

222,795

California

124,300

Texas

42,376

Illinois

41,970

New York

32,795

Florida

27,865

Arizona

27,385

North Carolina

24,135

Georgia

22,024

New Jersey

17,843

Washington

Source: Department of Homeland Security

The Migration Policy Institute, a think tank based in Washington, estimates that, as of 2016, Georgia had about 73,000 people eligible under the DACA program. Again, a major share of them are Mexicans – about 65 percent – followed by Guatemalans and South Koreans. 

DACA-eligible population by state

561,000

California

271,000

Texas

107,000

New York

102,000

Florida

96,000

Illinois

73,000

Georgia

71,000

New Jersey

66,000

North Carolina

52,000

Arizona

43,000

Washington

561,000

California

271,000

Texas

107,000

New York

102,000

Florida

96,000

Illinois

73,000

Georgia

71,000

New Jersey

66,000

North Carolina

52,000

Arizona

43,000

Washington

561,000

California

271,000

Texas

107,000

New York

102,000

Florida

96,000

Illinois

73,000

Georgia

71,000

New Jersey

66,000

North Carolina

52,000

Arizona

43,000

Washington

561,000

California

271,000

Texas

107,000

New York

102,000

Florida

96,000

Illinois

73,000

Georgia

71,000

New Jersey

66,000

North Carolina

52,000

Arizona

43,000

Washington

Source: Migration Policy Institute

Most of these immigrants reside in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Hall counties.

DACA-eligible population in metro Atlanta counties

DACA-eligible population

5k

10k

15k

Hall

Fulton

Cobb

Gwinnett

DeKalb

Atlanta

Clayton

DACA-eligible population

Hall

5k

10k

15k

Fulton

Cobb

Gwinnett

Atlanta

DeKalb

Clayton

DACA-eligible population

5k

10k

15k

Hall

Fulton

Gwinnett

Cobb

DeKalb

Atlanta

Clayton

Source: Migration Policy Institute

What do we know about them?

In a report this year, the Migration Policy Institute also analyzed the education backgrounds and work profiles of the DACA population. It must be noted that one of the requirements to receive DACA protection is a high school education or its equivalent.  

According to the analysis, nearly two-thirds of the DACA-eligible participants in 2014 were either enrolled in secondary school or had attained a high school diploma, but had not gone on to college.

Status DACA-eligible Total U.S. population
Enrolled in secondary school 31% 19%
Completed only high school 33 19
Enrolled in college 20 20
Completed some college 11 17
Bachelor's degree 5 18

The share of DACA population that had completed high school was higher than the share of the total U.S. population that had attained similar levels of education.

When it comes to employment, DACA-eligible workers made up 1.3 percent of the 48.9-million-strong labor force comprising workers ages 16 to 32 years old, the report found. What is worth noting is that DACA participants were more commonly found in white-collar jobs such as sales and office administrative jobs compared with DACA-ineligible unauthorized workers.

Industry U.S. Population DACA-eligible DACA-ineligible
Food preparation and serving 10% 16% 16%
Sales and related 13 15 6
Office and administrative 13 12 5
Construction and extraction 5 10 20
Production occupations 5 8 9
Transportation and material moving 6 8 8
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance 3 6 13
Management, business, science and arts 6 4 2
Personal care and service 4 4 3
Installation, maintenance and repair work 3 3 2

Nearly one-quarter of DACA participants had also enrolled in college while working, compared with one-fifth of U.S. workers who juggled a job and college studies in 2014.

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