Thursday, February 25, 2016
With the Supreme Court poised to deliberate the fate of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, a new report by the Migration Policy Institute and the Urban Institute finds that work authorization could increase the average DAPA family’s income by 10 percent. The program could also lead to reductions in poverty and other measurable gains for millions of people living in DAPA households, including nearly 4 million children under age 18 who are U.S. citizens.
Using an innovative MPI methodology that permits analysis of the unauthorized population using U.S. Census Bureau data, the report estimates that as many as 3.6 million unauthorized immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs) would be eligible for DAPA. The program, which would provide temporary relief from deportation and eligibility for work authorization, was announced by the Obama administration in November 2014. It was temporarily blocked pending resolution of a legal challenge filed by 26 states, and the Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case in April, with a ruling expected by the end of June.
In the report, Deferred Action for Unauthorized Immigrant Parents: Analysis of DAPA’s Potential Effects on Families and Children, MPI and Urban Institute researchers describe the population potentially eligible for DAPA and estimate the effects of work authorization and relief from deportation on family income, poverty and child well-being. Among the key findings of the report, which draws from analysis of 2009-2013 Census Bureau data:
- Controlling for other measureable factors, the average family could expect to see a $3,000 (10 percent) income gain if potentially DAPA-eligible parents obtained work authorization and earned the same as LPR parents with comparable characteristics such as age, educational attainment, English proficiency and length of U.S. residence. As a result, 6 percent fewer DAPA families would be living in poverty.
- Although the labor force participation of potentially DAPA-eligible fathers exceeds immigrant fathers overall and the U.S. born, nonetheless DAPA families have lower incomes (in part because potentially DAPA-eligible mothers’ labor force participation is lower): $31,000 versus $43,000 for all families with immigrant parents and $47,000 for families with U.S.-born parents. The poverty rate for potentially DAPA-eligible families is 36 percent, compared with 22 percent for all immigrant families and 14 percent for families with U.S.-born parents. The report finds DAPA would not have any significant impact on labor force participation rates.
- Of the 3.6 million unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for DAPA, 3.3 million are parents of U.S.-citizen or LPR children under age 18 who are living with them. Another 340,000 parents of adult children would also potentially be DAPA eligible. An estimated 85 percent of all minor children in potential DAPA households are U.S. citizens.
- More than 10 million people live in households with at least one potentially DAPA-eligible adult. Beyond the 3.3 million potentially DAPA-eligible parents of minor children, an estimated 2.3 million other adults and 4.3 million children under 18 reside in these households. Together with 340,000 DAPA-eligible parents of adult children, as many as 10.2 million people could be affected.
- Sixty-nine percent of the potentially DAPA eligible have lived in the United States ten years or more, and 25 percent at least 20 years.
The report builds on previous research by MPI and the Urban Institute describing the effects of parental unauthorized status on these children, finding that deferring deportation would protect children and families from potentially substantial economic and other harm. “