It is estimated there are 3.6M illegal immigrants who were brought to U.S. before their 18th birthday.
The political debate over the fate of “DREAMers” — undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — has overlooked just how many there are in the country today: about 3.6 million.
That number of people whose lives risk being uprooted is not widely known, in large part because so much public attention has been focused recently on 800,000 mostly young DREAMers accepted into the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
This smaller group of DREAMers is in the spotlight because President Trump terminated DACA in September, saying it was an illegal overreach of executive authority that can only come from Congress, which is negotiating with Trump on a compromise immigration plan.
While many politicians use DREAMer and DACA interchangeably, the terms are “not a distinction without a difference,” said House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
DREAMers got their name from the DREAM Act, a bill that has been proposed in Congress since 2001, but never passed, that would protect that group of immigrants.
The 3.6 million estimate of undocumented immigrants brought to U.S. before their 18th birthday comes from the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit think tank that studies global immigration patterns. That is roughly a third of all undocumented immigrants in the country and does not include millions of their immediate family members who are U.S. citizens.
A number so large raises the stakes for both sides in the dispute over whether to deport DREAMers, allow them to stay under prescribed conditions or provide them with a path to citizenship. USAToday