New poll quizzes undocumented millennials on DACA implementation

In June of 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would accept requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an initiative designed to temporarily suspend the deportation of young people residing unlawfully in the U.S who were brought to the U.S. as children, met certain education requirements and generally match the criteria established under legislative proposals like the DREAM Act.

Nearly two years later, a major survey of undocumented millennials has just been released, commissioned by the United We Dream Network and the group Unbound Philanthropy. Called "In Their Own Words: A Nationwide Study of Undocumented." It states that 64 percent of those who have become "DACA-mented" report a greater sense of belonging in the U.S., and 64 percent say they no longer live in fear of being afraid because of their undocumented status. 35 percent are more involved in their local community, and an overwhelming 84 percent have a driver's license or state ID - a significant number considering the call by immigrant rights groups here in Florida to allow the undocumented the ability to get a driver's licenses (which 10 states have gone ahead and done).

The application fee for DACA is $465. That same amount must be paid to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to renew after two years. 51 percent of those surveyed said that fee imposed a financial hardship on themselves of their families. And 40 percent said they know someone who is eligible for DACA but haven't yet applied because they can't afford that fee.

"We expect that upwards of over 76,000 Dreamers should be able to submit their renewal applications in the month of June alone, and a whopping 154,000 will be able to submit their renewal applications over the course of this summer," said Adam Luna, Director of United We Dream's Own the Dream DACA Implementation Campaign.

In terms of political affiliation, 50 percent of those surveyed called themselves Democrats, while 45 percent of those said they were independent or "other". Only 2 percent called themselves Republican. But the fact that there are so many who refuse to call themselves Democrats may be a "small window of opportunity for Republicans to appeal to this constituency, should they act on the issues that this constituency cares about, " said Tom Wong, primary Investigator for the survey and Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of California, San Diego

Wong deduces from this that and says that undocumented immigrants "do not identify as strongly with Democrats as some may have previously thought." But he said that unless the Republicans seized the opportunity to pass an immigration reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship, he doesn't believe their numbers will increase at all.

And there's also this: 35 percent of LGBT respondents have come out asboth undocumented and LGBT. Just under a third (32 percent) have only come out as undocumented, but not as LGBT. And only 14 percent have come out as LGBT, but not as undocumented.

The survey attracted 3,139 responses nationwide, of which we have confidence that 1,472 of those responses were provided by undocumented young people between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. 

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