Dreamers and DACA recipients are both immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
A Dreamer is an undocumented immigrant who was brought to the United States as a child. The name “DREAMer'' originated from the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a bill that has been introduced in Congress in several forms since 2001 but has never passed. Although “Dreamer” is a name often given to undocumented youth and now adults, it does not confer any legal status or pathway to permanent residency or citizenship.
A DACA recipient is a Dreamer who has applied for and received status through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA was implemented in June 2012 and is aimed at protecting qualifying young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, temporarily shielding them from deportation and providing them work authorization with possible renewal every two years. DACA protections are not written into law and can be challenged or revoked by the administration or courts, and DACA recipients continue to lack legal status and a pathway to citizenship.
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Chart by the National Immigration Forum. Sources: USCIS, (current DACA recipients, 7/22/2020). Center for Migration Studies (refers to the number of Dreamers who turned 15 since the 2017 DACA rescission, 6/29/2020). Migration Policy Institute (estimate of DACA eligible population under original criteria, 1/2018).
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