As the young undocumented immigrants we call dreamers start a new process that promises to give them a reprieve from possible deportation, they are becoming a force to be reckoned with and a subject of much interest from the media to advocacy circles.
But how many undocumented youth called dreamers, after the Dream Act legislation that would give them a path to citizenship, are there across the country? And where are they?
While the number first stated when President Barack Obama announced the deferred action policy in June was about 800,000 potential applicants who would be protected from deportation, a study released earlier this week shows that that number is closer to 1 million undocumented youth who can start to apply with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Aug. 15.
The Immigration Policy Center report counts the current number of undocumented immigrants between the ages of 15 and 30 at about 936,930. But that number could increase even more in the years to come as another 426,330 undocumented youth are between the ages of 5 and 14 and could eventually benefit as well.
That would bring the total number of dreamers to 1.4 million.
Two years ago, the Immigration Policy Center conducted another study in which it found that 2.1 million undocumented dreamers would benefit from passage of the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented youth via college or military service. Many of the guidelines found in the DREAM Act are also included in the deferred action initiative, which the Obama administration announced June 15.
The new report also found that the states with the largest population of potential deferred action beneficiaries are California (412,560), Texas (226,700), New York (70,170), Illinois (67,460) and Arizona (53,880).
Not surprisingly, a majority of them are Mexican. Another 13 percent are from other countries in North and Central America and the Caribbean, about 8 percent are from Asia and 7 percent are from South America.
“These demographic details are important as the federal government gears up to implement the deferred action initiative, and as community groups prepare to assist the populations they serve in taking advantage of this opportunity,” the study states.