WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today marks the tenth anniversary of DACA, a wildly successful policy that has enabled hundreds of thousands of young people who have called the United States home since childhood to access work authorization and live free from the fear of deportation. FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement:
“It has been ten years since DACA began, transforming millions of lives and showing every single day the incredible value to our country that comes with giving undocumented immigrants – in this case, those who came to the country as children – the ability to work legally and live without the constant fear of deportation. Since the policy’s inception in June 2012, DACA recipients have grown their careers, families and lives here. DACA recipients have made extraordinary contributions to communities in every state across the country. Yet even as this policy has allowed people to do amazing things that many Americans take for granted, DACA has not evolved and remains under extreme threat. And nearly 700,000 people still live day to day facing overwhelming uncertainty around their futures in a country they have called homes for decades.
“Without question, DACA has been life-changing for hundreds of thousands of young people who have qualified for its protections – but the past ten years have made painfully clear how tenuous the policy really is. In early July, the Fifth Circuit court will hold oral arguments on the legality of DACA. Given the past rulings by the Fifth Circuit, it is important to be clear that DACA is under urgent and existential risk, and a negative ruling could end the ability for current recipients to renew their protections, jeopardizing their futures and putting millions of families at risk of separation. Only a pathway to citizenship can provide the certainty that Dreamers’ lives won’t be turned upside down.
“For years, DACA recipients have led with courage and resiliency to fight for protections for themselves and their families amidst these constant challenges. Because of their extraordinary efforts, they are still here, and still fighting – but they deserve better than constantly having to prove their right to exist. DACA recipients deserve to be fully recognized as the Americans they are. After decades in the United States and ten years living with DACA, these hundreds of thousands of undocumented young Americans face an uncertain future unless urgent action from Congress and the Biden Administration allows them to continue living the lives that they have built here. While a permanent legislative solution is long overdue, it’s not too late. Given the stakes and urgency from this assault in the courts, the consequences of another congressional failure would be the most devastating yet for nearly a million DACA recipients and tens of millions of people in their families, places of work and worship, and communities. We have the power as a nation to address this urgent need and keep families safe and together – we cannot let this opportunity pass.”
A new report released by FWD.us compares how the original cohort of DACA recipients has grown since the policy was enacted, and also shares new insights into the current population of individuals with DACA. Findings show that ten years on, the protections afforded by the DACA policy have helped them to build their lives and strengthen their roots in the U.S. even further, enabling them to graduate from school, grow their careers, and establish their own families.
The report also features the story of Reyna Montoya, a DACA recipient and founder of Aliento, a Phoenix-based community organization that supports young immigrants from the ages of seven to 24. Unfortunately, many young people in Reyna’s community – including her students – may no longer be able to access the policy’s protections because they likely arrived in the U.S. after the cut-off date for eligibility. Among those is Daniela Chavira, who shares her emotional story and her fear of deportation, saying “I just knew I needed DACA; for some reason I needed that piece of paper to do whatever I wanted to do in life.” Like other Dreamers lacking legal protections, Daniela is forced to live with uncertainty until Congress takes action to provide permanent legislative protections for hundreds of thousands of young people like her.