Thursday, July 18, 2024

Report states that 100,000 immigrants graduate without DACA protections

Nearly 100,000 undocumented students graduate from high school every year, but under the Trump administration, they cannot apply for DACA, which has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation since the program started under the Obama administration.

A new report based on census data from the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, estimates that 98,000 students graduate from high schools each year, a substantial increase from a previous estimate of 65,000. The states with the largest number of undocumented graduates are California (27 percent), Texas (17 percent), Florida (6 percent) and New York and New Jersey (both with 4 percent).

In 2017, the Trump administration tried to end DACA but was stopped by lower courts that have kept the program alive. Current DACA recipients can still renew their applications every two years, but no new applications are being accepted.

While the battle over the program continues, those graduating high school without DACA protections can be arrested and deported. Although the number of undocumented students graduating without protection has gone up, there is fear that eventually the number could decrease because of dropouts.

“DACA has incentives for people to graduate from high school,” said Jeanne Batalova, a senior policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute and co-author of the report. Batalova says the Trump administration’s crackdown on unauthorized immigration and the rhetoric surrounding the issue can play a negative role and lead to fewer undocumented immigrants graduating from high school.

“People will drop out of high school because they won’t see a point in graduating,” she said. However, Batalova said she was encouraged that the number of undocumented graduates did not drop. “The question,” he added, “is what will happen to those who are eligible to graduate.”