The future of DACA is once again left in limbo. Earlier in July, a federal appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). This decision, which will most likely be decided in a few months, will affect the future of over 600,000 DREAMers – undocumented youth who were brought over to the United States as children.
Many DREAMers are stuck in an uncertain state, not knowing whether their legal status will continue to grant them permission to stay in school or work without risk of deportation. Under the Obama administration in 2012, DACA was created and positioned as a temporary solution to provide protections from deportation to people who were brought over to the US as children. Since then, DREAMers have been living and working in the United States for decades making significant contributions to their communities and our nation’s economy.
However, DACA was never meant to be a permanent solution for DREAMers, and since then, the program has been under constant threat. In 2017, President Trump halted the program and introduced many restrictions including and barring first-time applicants for DACA from applying. In 2021, a Texas judge ruled that the program was illegal. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security is not granting or processing any new applications. People who would have been eligible for the program are now living in the United States without any protections and without DACA, all these people will face the threat of deportation.
Last year, the Biden administration appealed that order, and now the 5th circuit court of appeals must decide on the legality of the program. Many of these recipients are disappointed by the lack of action taken by the Biden Administration since this impacts their abilities to work, drive, or remain in school. Ending DACA would open the door to deportation as well, leaving the only country that many of these recipients have ever known with no resources or support networks.
With a ruling expected any day now, Congress must deliver permanent protections for all DACA recipients and all youth who are eligible for the program. This is why it is imperative that we support organizations like United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network and FWD.us, who are fighting for DACA to be reinstated and for a pathway to citizenship to be offered to all DREAMers.