DACA filings for certain groups underrepresented; officials wonder why

DACA filings for certain groups underrepresented; officials wonder why

President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has had a large impact on Dreamers across the nation. Despite its success, there are still several countries that continue to remain underrepresented.

According to USCIS statistics on DACA, 65 percent immediately eligible Mexican nationals have applied for DACA.  But only 34 percent of Koreans have applied. Immigration advocates aim to find the cause of this and wonder how they can convince more people to apply for the program that grants them deportation reprieve.

Media an influential and important factor

The first reason that applications for DACA may be down is because of knowledge about the program. Mexican immigration advocates have done extensive work by advertising the program to their communities. There is even a free smartphone app that provides information and steps to apply for the program.

Other communities may either not have this type of advertising, or they may not be familiar with the details of the program. One of the difficult parts is getting undocumented immigrants to trust that ICE will not deport them once they submit their information.

“Word of Mouth” effect

The next factor is the mass effect. When large numbers of people begin applying for the program and come back with papers and are not deported, they encourage others to apply knowing they will be safe. This may help explain why DACA is popular in the Latino communities, but it continues to fail in other cultural communities.

Furthermore, different immigrants may have previous experience with immigration programs that may make it easier for them to apply for this relatively new one. Many Mexican nationals were beneficiaries of the 1986 legalization legislation. Because that was a successful law and they were able to stay in the U.S., they may be more likely to trust the government and apply for DACA as well as encourage their family and friends to do so.

While there is not one main reason that would show why some groups apply for DACA as opposed to some others, there are many factors that help hint at why such large disparities in applicants occur.

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