A new study from the University of Southern California Dornsife’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration found that permitting undocumented adults to work in the United States legally would help boost their earnings enough to bring their households out of poverty.
Put another way, about 40,000 children would be lifted out of poverty in California if President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration are allowed to proceed. 40,000 children, and that’s just in California.
Obama’s program, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, or DAPA, could benefit an estimated 4.1 million people through allowing the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to apply for work authorization and a temporary pardon from deportation.
“We know that one of the single largest factors impacting student learning and future economic performance is parent’s socioeconomic status,” the study reads. “For that reason, DAPA seems like the sort of anti-poverty and pro-child measure that should rally politicians from across the political spectrum.”
I completely agree. This shouldn’t be a party issue, but should instead unite the country, and especially our state. More undocumented immigrants live in California than any other state in the country, and about 1.6 million of them are children. That’s 17 percent of the total number of children in California. About 93 percent of the children who have parents eligible for DAPA are U.S. citizens, but their parents are not, and that presents a problem. Though these children are Americans, their parents are unable to obtain jobs that enable them to afford proper food, education, and other necessities. DAPA changes that, bringing eligible migrants into the formal job market where they would see an increase in wages, find more incentives for job training, and have an easier time finding jobs at all.
In Texas, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the program’s implementation. Across the country, 26 states have sued to overturn the program, on the grounds that the executive actions are unconstitutional. California is, thankfully, not on this list. I sincerely hope Obama’s immigration reform is allowed to proceed, as it will help not only our state but also the entire nation. And with 1.6 million children who could benefit, and 40,000 who could be moved from poverty, how can we say no?