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The Effects of DACAmentation: The Impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Unauthorized Immigrants

Pope, Nolan G.

As the largest immigration policy in 25 years, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) made deportation relief and work authorization available to 1.7 million unauthorized immigrants. This paper looks at how DACA affects DACA-eligible immigrants' labor market outcomes. I use a difference-in-differences design for unauthorized immigrants near the criteria cutoffs for DACA eligibility. I find DACA increases the likelihood of working by increasing labor force participation and decreasing the unemployment rate for DACA-eligible immigrants. I also find DACA increases the income of unauthorized immigrants in the bottom of the income distribution. I find little evidence that DACA affects the likelihood of attending school. Using these estimates, DACA moved 50,000 to 75,000 unauthorized immigrants into employment. If the effects of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) are similar to DACA, then DAPA could potentially move over 250,000 unauthorized immigrants into employment.
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