California, with More than 25% of DACA Beneficiaries, Faces Big Impact

Young immigrants and supporters gather for a rally in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in Los Angeles, California on September 1, 2017. A decision is expected in coming days on whether US President Trump will end the program by his predecessor, former President Obama, on DACA which …
File Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

California is home to more than 25% of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, and is expected to face big impacts following President Trump’s decision to rescind the Obama administration’s policy on so-called “Dreamers.”

President Obama’s 2012 policy allowed illegal aliens ages brought to the U.S. as children, up to age 30 at the time of implementation, to receive immediate deferral action on any deportation order, if the beneficiary was either in high school or already had a high school diploma.

The current number of U.S. eligible DACA aliens is 1,900,613. Roughly 800,000 have benefited from the program.  The median age of beneficiaries is 25 years old.

California leads the nation in DACA-eligible residents with 539,000, or 28.4 percent of all potential beneficiaries. That is more than the combined totals of the next four states including Texas, Illinois, Arizona and New York. California also has more DACA-eligible residents than the lowest 28 states combined. Of the total eligible, 223,000 California residents have been approved for DACA, more than a quarter of the total.

The biggest impact from “California Dreamers” could be in the state’s school system. About one in 12 of the California’s 1,769,487 high school students are DREAMers.

Despite University of California receiving $360 million from the National Science Foundation each year on the condition that none of the money is spent on illegal aliens, the UC system, the California State Colleges, and almost all community colleges have pledged to protect the identity of their unauthorized immigrant students.

California offers a broad array of unique educational benefits for Dreamers. AB 540 has waived undocumented aliens from paying non-resident college tuition at state schools since 2001. As a result, Dreamers comprise about a third of the 219,300 foreign students that attend California universities and colleges.

The California DREAM Act has made undocumented aliens eligible for financial aid since 2011, if they attended high school in the state or received a GED. California college financial aid programs available to DREAMers include Cal Grants, to help cover the cost of college tuition; a Board of Governor’s fee waiver; institution-specific grants and scholarships at many University of California and California State University campuses; UC’s California DREAM Loan Program, for undocumented students to take out loans when enrolled at least part time; Undocumented Student Centers on UC and CSU campuses; Free Legal Services; and free UC Immigrant Legal Services.

California Dreamers tend to be from impoverished families, with about 70 percent responding to a recent survey by  “United We Dream” stating that they do not have enough money to meet monthly expenses, or just barely meet them. That contributes to California having America’s highest poverty rate at 20.6 percent, according to the U.S. Census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure.

California makes it extremely difficult to calculate how many Dreamers are also currently on welfare. But according to former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Breitbart News contributor, California has just 12 percent of America’s population but also currently has 34 percent of all the people on welfare in the U.S.

When the Democrat-controlled Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010, President Obama promised that illegal aliens would not be eligible for the Medicaid expansion. But California Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrat-controlled legislature passed a law in 2012 that provides a California-funded Medi-Cal equivalent for Dreamers.

With a six-month delay in President Donald Trump’s expected announcement Tuesday rescinding Obama’s policy, it is unclear what the short-term impact on California will be. But with many jurisdictions in the state having already declared themselves sanctuaries, DACA and the Dreamer issue will continue to have a big impact on the state.


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