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Denver think tank: DACA improves public health

Author: Joey Bunch - April 5, 2018 - Updated: April 8, 2018

DACAFrom left, Miguel Alvarez, Aarahon Valdovines and Alejandro Carnero, students of Mitchell High School, rally to defend DACA at Acacia Park in Colorado Springs last September. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie/The Colorado Springs Gazette).

DENVER — A left-leaning research and policy group has a new argument to support the Dreamers: It’s good for public health.

The Center for Health Progress released the four-page white paper Thursday, days after President Trump declared the end to the possibility that he might renew President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

There are about 17,000 DACA recipients, called Dreamers, who could face deportation or other immigration hurdles.

Culling data, the Center for Health Progress said:

  • DACA recipients had better mental health rates after Obama relieved them from the stress of deportation.
  • Dreamers work in the health sector as nurses, assistants, technicians, therapists and doctors.
  • A majority of DACA recipients nationwide have jobs that provide employer-sponsored health coverage, helping prevent health conditions.
  • DACA improves public safety when Dreamers have peace of mind and more willingness to assist law enforcement.

Separately, the Atlantic reported Wednesday that DACA lowers teen pregnancy rates and encourages recipients of the government to stay in school and pursue better jobs.

“Immigrant families pay billions in taxes to help support all government programs, and immigrant workers and families are crucial to the success of important community services such as health care and education,” the paper concluded. “DACA has freed immigrants from the mental and emotional burden of living in the shadows, in constant fear of deportation. It has been shown to be an asset, rather than a liability, when it comes to Colorado’s health care workforce, and serves to augment the efforts of patient-centered quality care. The program has increased public safety and mental health, which is a win for all US communities.

“Once Dreamers have a pathway to citizenship and their families have the stability they need, we can get on to building a healthy future where all children can learn, parents can work, families grow strong, and we all have what we need to contribute to our full potential.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.