WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ten years ago today, the DACA policy went into effect, forever changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people like us, our families, our communities and our country. As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we reflect on both the opportunities and limitations of the policy. A decade after DACA’s inception in 2012, the lives of Dreamers continue to be in limbo as the policy faces an uncertain future in the courts, despite the overwhelming popularity of the program across party lines. At FWD.us, we continue to emphasize that the only solution to this injustice is immediate permanent legislative protections that provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients like us and other undocumented populations.
As DACA recipients on FWD.us’ staff, we released the following statements today to mark the tenth anniversary of the DACA policy:
“When I came to the United States from Peru, I was only six years old. I’ve lived in this country for over 20 years and I’ve created my life here. In the 10 years that I have had DACA, I graduated college in Orange County, California, worked in Washington DC, and now I’m continuing to create a home in Los Angeles. I have friends, family, and a community in this country, making this the only home for me. DACA has allowed me to pursue my passions and live somewhat of a normal life, but it falls short in granting security for my future in the country I call home. Until Congress passes legislation for a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants, we will continue to face fear and uncertainty every single day. I want to live fearlessly in the country I call home and have fought so hard to be in.” Ana Aldazabal, Program Specialist, Informed Immigrant (Los Angeles, CA)
“This year, as we celebrate the ten year anniversary of DACA, I think back on the life-changing opportunities the program has created for thousands of young people like myself. Today is both a celebration and a somber moment as I’m reminded of my career growth but also recognize the limbo I’ve lived in for the past decade. My hope is that this anniversary highlights the urgency of legislative action. The odds that DACA renewals are halted in the weeks ahead are severe as the Fifth Circuit takes up the legality of DACA. Congress’s failure once again to find a pathway to incredibly popular, common sense legislation over the last two decades is beyond disappointing.” Daniela Chomba, People Operations & Office Manager (Washington, DC)
“I am the proud son of farmworkers, whose hard work and sacrifice has opened the doors of possibility for my life. I have dedicated my career toward using technology to enable everyday Americans to engage with leaders in power and make their values and vision for this country heard. Like most Americans, I believe everyone in this country, regardless of where they land in the lottery of birth, deserves the opportunity to follow their dreams. This anniversary is a milestone of keeping the DACA program, along with the many livelihoods it supports, intact for ten years, through numerous attacks. Today, I am reminded of the incredible life I get to live because my loved ones, friends, educators, and mentors chose to believe in and invest in me. Today is also a reminder of the fragility of my future and that of hundreds of thousands of undocumented folks like me. We deserve a safe container for our dreams, our futures, and our ability to remain with our families.” Luis Espino, Product Manager (Napa Valley, CA)
“My family settled in California twenty years ago. Since then, thanks to the DACA program, my siblings and I graduated from college and embarked upon our professional careers. Both of my siblings are essential workers, and all three of us remain at risk of deportation so long as there is no pathway to citizenship. To put it simply: DACA is not enough. Now that the program faces unprecedented challenges in the courts, it is more urgent than ever to pass legislation that recognizes the contributions of immigrant families like mine and secures our futures in the only home we have ever known.” Diego Huaman, Senior Social Media Associate (Los Angeles, CA)
“Thanks to the resilience and persistent work of advocates and community members, DACA has reached this ten year milestone, showing how essential we, immigrants, are in our communities. Every day, Dreamers and our loved ones continue to live in limbo as attacks on the program have been normalized. While DACA has been a lifeline to myself and the other folks in the Dreamer community, it is important to highlight the vulnerability of the policy since its creation ten years ago today. DACA is under threat again as it makes its way through the courts in the Texas v. U.S. DACA case. If you or your loved ones are eligible for DACA and haven’t yet renewed your protections, this is the time to do so. It’s best to prepare in the event of a negative ruling in the court case.” Maria Vanegas, Information Systems Associate (Berkeley, CA)