The DREAM Act and Deferred Action Program, as immigration reform initiatives, have many supporters. Both of the programs focus on protecting young illegal immigrants from deportation. Protecting young illegal immigrants has been a priority in immigration reform because many of these residents were brought to the United States before they reached the age of consent.
A majority of people agree that punishing young undocumented residents is unfair and actually detrimental to the overall progress of the United States. In a large majority of cases, many young illegal residents contribute to the United States academically and socially. Additionally, if removal action, or deportation, were to occur, the illegal resident would be forced to return to a country that they have not inhabited for the majority of their life.
While the DREAM Act ideally ends in legal citizenship for residents, the Deferred Action Program is a temporary (two-year) allowance of protected residency and provision of documentation for legal employment. Many immigration reform advocates and members of Latino communities consider this program as a temporary fix to an ongoing problem within the United States. Many supporters of immigration reform have long since been hoping for a more comprehensive legal inclusion of immigrants into the United States job market.
In addition to legal protection, legal work documentation would allow illegal residents to potentially obtain better pay from their employers, rather than working for whatever payment is available. This provision is extremely valuable, financially and otherwise, for the fair treatment of traditionally exploited laborers. Opponents of immigration reform initiatives like Deferred Action and the DREAM Act believe that giving benefits to young undocumented residents implicitly encourages illegal immigration. In order to protect against this accusation, each deferred action applicant is reviewed based on the factors of their individual case.