The subject of this week’s fact-checking video is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Then-President Barack Obama created the DACA program in 2012 by executive action after Congress failed to pass the “DREAM Act,” which would have provided a path to citizenship for certain immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. As of September, nearly 800,000 people at some point had gained DACA status, which protects them from deportation and allows them to work in the United States for two years, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said his proposal to make the DACA program permanent will “generously” cover 1.8 million people — “almost three times more people than the previous administration covered.” Chief of Staff John Kelly recently repeated a version of that claim, telling reporters that the president’s proposal “amounts to be two and a half times” more than those currently covered.
Trump and Kelly are comparing the 1.8 million people that they say would be eligible for Trump’s proposal with the 689,800 people who were enrolled in the DACA program as of Sept. 4, 2017. That’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. A more apt comparison is the number of people eligible for each program, and that number is about the same.
An estimated 1.3 million people currently meet the eligibility requirements for the existing DACA program, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The institute also estimates that the current program could cover up to 1.9 million people in the next several years — about the same number as the White House claims would be eligible under Trump’s plan. MPI arrives at the 1.9 million figure by including 228,000 people who will meet the age eligibility requirement (at least 15 years old) and 398,000 people who could gain the schooling needed to meet the education requirements.
FactCheck.org and Tapper have been collaborating on fact-checking videos since September 2015. All of the videos can be found on FactCheck.org.