The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced in 2012 by President Obama, protects recipients from deportation by granting them two years of deferred action status, while also allowing them to obtain temporary work authorization. In the fall of 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated the “orderly phase out” of the program.
In the almost six years of its existence, DACA has had a significant positive impact on the health of both our immigrant communities and overall public health. Both rigorous scientific studies and extensive anecdotal evidence illustrate the connection between DACA policy and immigrant health and safety, access to health coverage and care, and our health care workforce.
The way to build healthier communities is by building healthier families. Families where parents can work and care for their children, and everyone has what they need—health care, nutritious food, a safe home, and other necessities—to reach their full potential. As Dreamers’ fate is debated in Congress with increasing delays on a final decision, it is important to support their good health and continue the benefits we have seen by continuing protection of the 690,000 current Dreamers nationwide (as of September 2017), including the 17,000 in Colorado, as well as the 3.6 million more who could qualify for this status should the program continue.
Dreamers are a vital part of our communities—they are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They came to this country as children with their parents, and they know no other home. Immigrant families pay billions in taxes to help support all government programs, and immigrant workers and families are crucial to the success of important community services such as health care and education. DACA has freed immigrants from the mental and emotional burden of living in the shadows, in constant fear of deportation. It has been shown to be an asset, rather than a liability, when it comes to Colorado’s health care workforce, and serves to augment the efforts of patient-centered quality care. The program has increased public safety and mental health, which is a win for all US communities. Once Dreamers have a pathway to citizenship and their families have the stability they need, we can get on to building a healthy future where all children can learn, parents can work, families grow strong, and we all have what we need to contribute to our full potential.DACA Report