How has lives of approved DREAMers changed after DACA?

Jenny wrote to ask, "From the DREAMers you have helped so far, have you found out how they are doing after being approved?  Have they seen any improvement in the lives?  Are there lives somewhat different?  Are they able to work like any other legal individual?

Yes, from dozens of people I have helped and through my research online, there are now tens of thousands of DACA approved immigrants, but what they are doing now is all over the place.  Here are some of the things I have become aware of:

  1. How your life turns out to be depends on the state in which you live, because apart from the DACA approval, EAD card, and Social Security card (which are Federal immigration benefits), everything else varies by state.  While some states have been more generous with issuing driver's licenses, identity documents, in-state tuition, etc. other states like Arizona have refused to do so or are still debating it.  In other words, may DREAMers now not only have EAD cards and SSN, they can also drive without fear, and generally engage in other activities like banking without much problem.
  2. I have been told that getting a valid for employment SS# is a mixed blessing for many.  While some have simply left their previous jobs where they were working illegally by using an invalid SS# or simply without one and getting paid under the table, others are stuck.  They cannot legally change their SSN at work but in this tough economy cannot find other jobs.  So they continue with their "illegal" lives despite having work authorization (which, by the way, is another legal mess that they maybe forced to deal with at some point) and are waiting for a new job where they can start fresh.
  3. Some employers have been more accommodating and while they maybe breaking the law, they have allowed the approved DREAMers to change their employee information.
  4. There are some isolated incidents of people whose Social Security numbers and name either did not show up or did not match in background searches by employers but this is common for people who have just been issued new numbers because it takes some time for the information to propagate through all the private systems.  These can generally be resolved by just waiting for some time.
  5. While most approved candidates have had no difficulty finding work with their papers, it is not surprising that some companies are reluctant to invest in employees whose legal status is a bit shaky (in the sense that they may not be around if they are unable to renew their permits or Congress does not act before President Obama leaves office) and that is why many Fortune 500 may simply pick someone over whom they have greater control as far as immigration status as concerned (that is why anyone they may have to sponsor for an H visa is preferable than over an undocumented immigrant).
  6. Apparently, many illegal immigrants are scared of traveling by air even for domestic trips (there is some misinformation that illegal immigrants are not allowed to travel by air; the reality is that in order to board a plan for a domestic flight in the United States you simply need to carry valid identification, like a passport from any country, and your legal status in the United States is not relevant and no one is authorized to question your legal status during security check) but after being approved for DACA, DREAMers are traveling by air.
  7. While some DREAMers have been considering getting advanced parole for overseas travel, most of them are avoiding international travel because re-entry into the United States is not guaranteed.