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DACA Law

Necessity to earn an income renders individuals unable to qualify for recent benefits

Applying for DACA

As hundreds of thousands of undocumented youths begin the process of applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), there is a harmonious sigh of relief due to the benefits – temporary though they may be. Unfortunately, for several more thousands, while they should benefit from DACA, they are deemed ineligible. These individuals fulfill most requirements: they were brought into the country before their sixteenth birthday; have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007; are under the age of thirty-one as of June 15, 2012; entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of said date; have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat; and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012. The only requirement these individuals in question do not fulfill is that of being currently in school, having graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, having obtained a GED, or being an honorably-discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States. These individuals were unable to fulfill this requirement due to the fact that they are what are known as migrant agricultural workers.Youth Migrant Farm Workers Ineligible for DACAThese youths begin working in their budding youths, unable to attend school as their families need them working as agricultural workers in order to bring additional income into the household. The U.S. agricultural industry allows hundreds of thousands of children, a majority of them immigrants, to begin working full-time at an age as young as eleven or twelve. Out of compulsion, these youths face hardships uncommon, and even unheard of, to their urban and suburban counterparts, working longer hours and in more hazardous conditions in order to supplement their family’s income.

DACA Youths

Some are fortunate enough to be able to attend school; however, the average child migrant farmworker changes schools three times a year as they move from state to state with their families due to planting and harvesting seasons. While it might seem like a boon to be able to be a part of academia, for most, maintaining decent grades, keeping up with coursework, and sustaining an attendance record up to par proves to be a trying task due to the nature of their lifestyle. Thus, the drop-out rate for a child farmworker is four times the national average; as these youths are.For those migrant child farmworkers who have fortunately been able to complete their high school education, or have been able to obtain a GED, another difficulty arises in regard to applying for DACA. Because their lifestyle is highly migratory, evidencing their continuous presence in the country is troublesome. For most of these individuals, the most common documentation of utility bills and leases are out of the question as they would most probably live in migrant housing.DACA Deferred Action for ChildhoodWhile DACA was designed by the Obama administration to offer conciliation to upright immigrant youths, to offer temporary relief from the agonizing and debilitating fear of deportation, and to allow them to work towards finally achieving the much-strived after American Dream, DACA discounts these migrant farmworkers. If it were not for the fact that their lifestyle demobilizes them from attending school, these bright and hopeful youths would be able to apply for DACA and, like their undocumented peers, be granted the opportunity to live to their full potential. When parts of the population suffers thusly, can we sit inactive and helpless, then? Is there nothing we can do for these otherwise DACA eligible individuals?
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