The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has been a subject of continuous discourse since its introduction in 2012. The purpose of this policy, which protects eligible undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children from deportation, is not clear to some people.
That is because many people misunderstand the DACA policy itself. Understanding the actual provisions of this policy is essential for gaining a balanced perspective on immigration issues. Consider the two most common myths surrounding DACA.
Myth 1: DACA gives recipients citizenship
One of the most common myths about DACA is that it provides a path to citizenship for recipients. This is inaccurate. DACA does not provide a direct path to citizenship or legal permanent resident status. It is a form of prosecutorial discretion that defers deportation for a period of two years and is subject to renewal. Recipients can obtain work authorization, allowing them to work legally in the United States, but the policy does not provide them with an automatic pathway to become U.S. citizens.
Myth 2: DACA recipients drain public resources
Another myth about DACA is that recipients drain public resources by having access to federal benefits. The reality is that DACA recipients are not eligible for federal means-tested benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Federal Student Aid. While they can receive state-level benefits in some instances, this depends on individual state policies and is not a federal guarantee.
Understanding the reality behind DACA helps to dispel the myths and misconceptions that often cloud discussions around this policy. Debunking these myths can promote a more informed and balanced dialogue about DACA and immigration policy in the United States.