American high schools are churning out nearly 100,000 illegal immigrant “Dreamers” a year, according to a new study Wednesday that shows just how extensive the network of illegal immigrant families is in the U.S.
The Migration Policy Institute’s research is the first in more than a decade to try to capture the size of the emergent Dreamer population, which is defined as illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as juveniles, lacking any immediate claims to legal status.
The think tank’s numbers show the population has grown, from about 65,000 a year in 2003 to 98,000 graduating each year now.
Some 27,000 more illegal immigrants reach high school graduating age but won’t actually graduate, the organization says.
Dreamers are often conflated with recipients of DACA, the Obama-era deportation amnesty. But while all DACA recipients are considered Dreamers, there are other Dreamers who don’t qualify for the program, which had a cut-off date of eligibility. Migrant children had to have arrived in the U.S. by 2007.
The Trump administration is locked in a court battle to try to revoke the DACA program, and for now is refusing new applications, meaning those who would qualify but haven’t applied cannot gain status.
“While high school graduation represents an important milestone in the lives of many young people, these graduates will be at risk of deportation and will face severely limited opportunities to pursue further work and education,” MPI said.
Congressional Democrats are pushing legislation to grant a broader and more permanent amnesty for Dreamers.