DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama-era,US immigration program that was designed to manage the issue of individuals who entered the US illegally as minors with their parents. They are still in the country but are not US citizens and they do not have a clear path to citizenship, nor do they have a legal right to remain in the US. Today, many are young adults going to school or working or volunteering.
And this makes for a very hard immigration case. The ugly question that homelanders are wrestling with is Should they be deported? Well, that feels downright inhumane and many (dare I say most?) Americans do not support ejecting them. These young people didn't do anything wrong and the US is the only country they know. They speak the language, know the culture, and they were educated in the US school system. In a sense they are already Americans. One could even argue that they have a better claim to being American than my children who do speak English but who didn't grow up in the US, who went to French public schools and who have had to learn US culture while on vacation.
DACA was a step toward regularizing the status of these "Dreamers." It gave them some protection from deportation and allowed them to work and go to school. A look at the requirements for entry into the DACA program is instructive. Note that some of these young adults appear to be veterans.
"To qualify for DACA, unauthorized immigrants have to meet six criteria: (1) applicants had no lawful status as of June 15, 2012 (i.e., an unauthorized immigrant as of June 15, 2012); (2) applicants came to the United States before the age of 16; (3) applicants must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; (4) applicants must also have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007; (5) applicants must be currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; (6) applicants cannot have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors. In addition to these DACA qualification criteria, an individual must be 15 years or older to submit the DACA application." Pope, N. G. (2016). The effects of DACAmentation: the impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on unauthorized immigrants. Journal of Public Economics, 143, p. 100.
DACA was not, however, a long-term solution. As you may have seen from the headlines (if you read the English speaking media) the US president has shut down this program and tossed the whole mess to the US Congress. The debate has begun and it is ugly.
I am shutting out the noise so I can think about this one and do some research. Let's start with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website. This report has the number of DACA requests and denials over the past few years plus information by US state. Very interesting reading. The top four countries of origin for DACA beneficiaries are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras but the entire list contains 24 countries (Poland is one) and a category called "unknown." In the states of residence in the US California and Texas are the top two by far and there is a category called "missing" in that list.