A Look at Our First Policy Forum- Latinos in America: From Immigrants to Citizens

As part of our strategic academic partnership with SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, we held our first policy forum in Washington, D.C. – Latinos in America: From Immigrants to Citizens.

The panelists discussed immigration trends, the socio-demographic profile of Latinos, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, the dilemmas of civic and political integration, and the hurdles that Latinos face in their quest to become full citizens. Latino CLD President Miguel Solis shared his family’s immigrant story, his decision to make a difference in his community by seeking public office at age 27, and the formation of the Latino CLD’s Leadership Academy to serve as a public service pipeline for the Latino community.

Watch the Full Panel Video Here

Key Panelist Points

  • Immigration to the U.S. in the 1970s was largely European
  • ¾ of immigrants living in the U.S. are in the country legally
  • Children of undocumented immigrants are more engaged politically than children of documented immigrants
  • Five million U.S.-born children have undocumented parents
  • Every year, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens with immigrant parents reach voting age
  • Up to two million people are potentially eligible for DACA
  • Approximately 700,000 DACA applications have been approved
  • Forty percent of people eligible for DACA have not applied
  • Close to 70% of DACA recipients got a job with better pay
  • DACA has led to a 45% increase in average wages among recipients
  • Seven of 10 individuals received some sort of assistance when applying for DACA
  • Twenty percent of DACA recipients bought their first car after DACA
  • More than 14% of DACA eligible people may be eligible for a more permanent form of immigration relief

The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Institute will identify and implement policy-focused solutions to the Latino community’s most pressing concerns, from educational and economic opportunities, to voting rights and immigration reform, to the under-representation of Latinos in elected and appointed roles, as well as corporate boards, at the federal, state and local levels.