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Most of the 100,000 undocumented graduates in the U.S. this year can't get DACA

Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 4:59pm
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A new report from the advocacy group that some 100,000 high school graduates this year are undocumented — and most won’t get DACA protection. 

DACA has provided hundreds of thousands of undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children with temporary protection from deportation and a work permit. But it only applies to those who were in the country on or before June 15, 2007.

Most undocumented graduates today don’t meet that criteria. Jose Patiño is a DACA recipient in Mesa who works with undocumented youth in Arizona as part of the advocacy group Aliento. He says the program was supposed to be temporary.

"So therefore, as the program ages, you’re going to see more and more flaws, things that are actually keeping thousands and thousands of youth in the shadows," he said. 

Patiño knows what that's like. By the time DACA was created, he had already graduated high school and college. He says employers can hold the fear of deportation over someone’s head and graduates’ job options can be limited without protection, no matter what they studied. 

June 15 marks a decade since the program was enacted. The report says on top of not having DACA protections, almost half of the 100,000 graduates don’t have access to in-state tuition. Undocumented students in Arizona, even those with DACA, are ineligible for in-state tuition because of a bill passed by voters in 2006. A measure on the ballot this year will put the question to voters again.

A measure on the ballot this year will put the Arizona voters will decide 

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