DACA Uncertainty Impacts Mental and Physical Health

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A new study shows that uncertainty about their legal status has lessened the health benefits initially experienced by DACA eligible immigrants and their children. The research by Health Affairs published in May 2019 shows that gains achieved under DACA in improved physical and mental health have gradually diminished as the program.

What is DACA?
DACA allows children of immigrants who came into the United States illegally to remain here if they were under 16 when they arrived as long as it was prior to 2007 and they meet other criteria. In order to qualify for DACA, you must meet all of the other criteria. The attorneys at Godoy Law Office can help you evaluate whether you are DACA eligible. Please contact us or call us today at (312) 883-9944 should you have any questions.

In 2012 President Barack Obama announced and immigration policy called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted some undocumented youth temporary relief from deportation, gave them access to work authorization, and other benefits including access to health care in a program that was renewable every two years. Often called Dreamers, the young adult participants must be undocumented immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children and do not have any felony or serious misdemeanor convictions.

The 2016 presidential elections led to DACA being ended by President Donald Trump and a phasing out of the temporary status program for Dreamers, which was challenged in the court system. Since 2017 the DACA program has been on hold and is being challenged in the courts, leading to uncertainty and confusion for the over 900,000 young adults in the program.

The authors of the new study assessed the reported benefits of the 1st two – three years of DACA for participants including:

  • improved high school graduation rates
  • better employment opportunities
  • decreased rates of poverty
  • lower teen birth rates
  • improvements in mental health
  • stronger feelings of inclusion and belonging

The study then compared the initial benefits of DACA on participants to the beginnings of uncertainty about the continuation of the program from 2015-2017 and concluded that:

“DACA’s limited and politically contingent nature eroded the program’s perceived health benefits for eligible immigrants and their children.”

Most DACA participants only know life in the United States and have no known family or friends in their home country. In addition to the loss of employment and access to health care, Dreamers are typically terrified of being sent to a country that is essentially foreign to them, although they were born there.

DACA Deportations
120 Dreamers lose their protection from deportation every day and lose their work permits. Recent highly publicized Dreamer deportations and court challenges have increased public awareness and participant anxiety about the future of Dreamers.

Court challenges have not been resolved and the US Supreme Court has not taken action on DACA, so DACA participant protections are continuing in 2019, at least until the new session which begins October 1, 2019. In March 2019 House Democrats introduced a bill called the Dream and Promise Act that would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as other people with other types of temporary immigration protections.

What Dreamers Can Do
Chicago immigration lawyer Mario A. Godoy has worked with young adults in the DACA program and says hiring an immigration lawyer can help protect the rights of Dreamers:

Not knowing your legal status to remain in the United States is extremely stressful, and not knowing your rights and best options to remain in the US can have devastating consequences. An immigration attorney who understands the consequences and complicated, rapidly changing immigration legal system can advise you, protect your rights and can save you time and money – and stress.

Incomplete paperwork and missed deadlines can have devastating consequences on your immigration application and appeals. Dreamers can’t afford to make a mistake.

If you have already filed your Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals immigration case it can be beneficial to meet with an immigration attorney to so that your case has the best possible chance for success. At ImmigrationSimplified.com we can help with your DACA case.

Please contact us or call us today at (312) 883-9944 should you have any questions.