As hundreds of thousands of youths begin applying for DACA, there are still thousands who are deemed ineligible to apply. These individuals in question satisfy all requirements for DACA except one. They are not currently in school, do not have high school diplomas or GED certificates, nor are they honorably discharged veterans of the United States Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States. These undocumented youths entered the country before their sixteenth birthday, have resided in the country continuously not only since 2007 – the year set in the DACA guidelines – but since the time of their entry, they have never been convicted of any felonies and are under the age of thirty-one. These youths are what are known as migrant farmworkers. Working from the budding age of eleven or twelve, these children, out of compulsion, joined their families in the agricultural industry in order to supplement their family’s income. Working full-time – usually long hours – and under hazardous conditions, those fortunate few who were able to attend school were not so fortunate after all. Due to their constant migration, these children would change up to three schools in a given school year. This disables them from keeping up with classwork, maintaining a decent attendance record, and thusly, maintaining decent grades. As a result, the drop-out rates for migrant child farmworkers is four times the national average.
With no high school diploma, or an equivalent certification, these migrant farmworkers are rendered ineligible for DACA. However, they are working out of compulsion. If given the opportunity to attend school, these children would, like their urban and suburban counterparts, take advantage of that opportunity. Do you think it is fair, then, that these individuals are still ineligible to apply for DACA? Share your thoughts!
DACA Field Report Blog carries field reports on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from multiple sources.