Small business built the United States. Is entrepreneurship a way around DACA?
There has been a great deal of coverage of late about DACA, a program started by the Obama Administration. DACA or the ‘Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals’ provides authorization to unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. With so many constraints, is entrepreneurship a way around DACA for recipients?
Many of these people who migrated as children are now in their early 20s and 30s and have completed high school. With DACA, these young adults, about 800,000 of them are authorized to work legally in the United States. Studies show that about 80% of these young adults work full time and 20 percent of them have college degrees.
DACA authorizations are valid for a limited period of time. Without Congressional action, the government will stop reviewing DACA work authorizations and tens of thousands of DACA recipients would see their work authorizations expire each through 2020. The end result would be mass layoffs for the DACA recipients.
The conversation surrounding DACA is particularly heated in California. 25% of the 800,000 DACA recipients or 200,000 people live in California. DACA recipients are also referred to as Dreamers after the Dream Act bill of 2012.
The issue surrounding The President
Under Mr. Obama, DACA was to be expanded to cover additional unauthorized immigrants. In September 2017, DACA was rescinded by the Trump Administration. Because of public outcry, full implementation of the rescission was delayed six months giving Congress time to determine how to handle the Dreamers already covered by the DREAM Act bill.
Entrepreneurship as a way around DACA for Dreamers
Without DACA authorization, Dreamers are not authorized to work legally in the United States. Experts say that for many out-of-work Dreamers, entrepreneurship is a way to support themselves and their families. Self-employment may be the only option that many Dreamers have as people who are self-employed in the United States don’t have to produce a work authorization or proof of legal status.
Organizations have emerged to help Dreamers transition to self-employment should DACA authorizations start to be rescinded. Immigrants Rising is one such project to emerge.
According to Illiana Perez who spearheaded the project, “if individuals begin to lose their work permits, they (Dreamers) will need to find a way to survive and thrive”.
DACA is not a blanket provision for just anyone to use. It comes with stringent requirements. To qualify for DACA, applicants must meet the following major requirements:
- Came to the United States prior to their 16th Birthday
- Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012
- Have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007.
- Did not have an unlawful status on June 15, 2012
- Have completed high school or a GED, have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or are enrolled in school
- Have not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety, and
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred.
It is worth noting that meeting all of these requirements does not guarantee approval.
Zip Capital Group is an entrepreneurial organization at heart. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the foundation of our business. We also believe that it is economic opportunities and immigration that made the United States great.
Putting our money where our mouth is, ZIP Capital Group is launching a philanthropic initiative to help Dreamers and authorized immigrants pursue entrepreneurial opportunities and self-employment. We are finalizing the details now but stay tuned for more information to follow.