Honors Theses

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Public Policy Leadership

First Advisor

Melissa Bass

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

The United States has long been considered a nation of immigrants, welcoming individuals and families of every background to build a better future for themselves and the country. Throughout various periods of its history, however, the U.S. has fluctuated between welcoming and exceptionally restrictive immigration policies, with changes are often generating passionate debate from all ideological standpoints. A significant development in the modern U.S. immigration system is the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program under the Obama Administration. This program allowed certain young undocumented immigrants who met established criteria to qualify for deportation protections. With approximately 700,000 DACA recipients currently, questions arise regarding these immigrants’ ability to access critical services such as education and healthcare. The research presented seeks to analyze the accessibility of healthcare and education for current DACA recipients in addition to exploring under which circumstances these services would be most accessible for those recipients. Through documentary research, I find that healthcare and educational services would be most accessible to current DACA recipients under the DREAM Act. While DACA created new opportunities for numerous undocumented immigrants in education, the program did not significantly advance opportunities to access healthcare services. Due to these conditions, the DREAM Act is the most promising legislation to enhance both educational and healthcare service access for current DACA recipients.

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