How Many Long Islanders Will Benefit from Immigration Executive Order?

The range is vast.
The range is vast.

We do not know what will be in the Executive Order on immigration that President Obama is likely to issue in the next three to eight weeks. Without that knowledge, it is tough to estimate how many people will need our services. However, I think that we still need to imagine several likely scenarios and try to develop planning that takes multiple scenarios into account.

There are no entirely accurate counts of the number of undocumented immigrants on Long Island. In my discussions with economists they said that a number ranging from 100,000 to 125,000 was probably correct. Another source suggested that there were perhaps as few as 80,000.

If there is a program that only includes DACA recipients’ parents and the parents of U.S. citizens, then the number applying nationally will be between 500,000 and a million. This would be similar or slightly larger than the number of people who applied for DACA in 2012-2013. This would mean that between 4,000 and 8,000 Long Islanders would likely be eligible. As we know, only a percentage of those eligible will actually apply.

If the program is the massive 5 million person program that is sometimes talked about, then we would expect 40,000 to 60,000 Long Islanders to be eligible. Again, not everyone would apply. The 2012-2013 DACA experience tells us that only about half of those eligible will actually file for work authorization.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.