Since 2012, DACA, a program ensuring the safety of numerous young immigrants from deportation, has been consistently unstable due to court rulings and government actions. The program's validity has been revoked, reinstated, or partially amended every few months.
The inconsistent progress of the program has instilled worry among many of its recipients, commonly referred to as Dreamers. The possibility of a court ruling or directive from the President could disrupt the lives that they have cultivated since joining the program. Despite President Biden's frequent declarations of support for Dreamers, who were brought to the United States as minors, DACA's legal battles have cast its future, as well as the future of its beneficiaries, into uncertainty.
But what exactly is DACA and who are the Dreamers? In this blog, we'll go over the specifics of DACA to make sure you're up to date on every aspect of the program.
In 2012, then-president, Barack Obama initiated an executive action to create a program that serves as a temporary safeguard for individuals who were brought to the US as minors without citizenship or legal residency. This two-year protective status is renewable but does not facilitate the acquisition of citizenship. The Dream Act, if passed, would be a pathway to a green card and then citizenship. Enrollment in this program offers a multitude of advantages. In addition to being granted permission to remain within the confines of the nation, participants can acquire employment licenses and potentially receive health coverage from their employers.
Legal work authorization grants recipients opportunities to pursue higher education, advance their careers, and obtain driver's licenses in multiple states. They are eligible for in-state tuition and state-funded educational financial aid in certain states, as well as for state-subsidized health insurance depending on their place of residence.
Undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children and are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are commonly known as Dreamers. The term is derived from the Dream Act, a legislative proposal introduced in 2001 to provide a pathway to citizenship for these individuals. Although several versions of the Dream Act have been presented over the years to address the reformation of the US immigration system, none have made progress in Congress, including the Dream Act of 2023.
On average, DACA beneficiaries are 26 years old, with the oldest ones being 39. The majority immigrated from Mexico, although others came from countries in Central and South America or the Caribbean. However, the most rapidly increasing group of unauthorized students are those from Asia. In order to meet the eligibility requirements, applicants must either currently be enrolled in high school, possess a diploma or G.E.D., or have prior military service. Additionally, it is imperative that they have a clean criminal record with no prior felony convictions.
As per a recent court order, the Department of Homeland Security is unable to process initial applications. However, immigrants who are currently enrolled in the program can still stay and work in the United States. It's important to note that their protections may be at risk if procedural issues highlighted by the court are not addressed by the government. To address these concerns, the Biden administration has introduced new regulations. These regulations have helped to ease the worry that many Dreamers are grappling with, however, they are not a permanent solution. Just like it's been since its inception, the future of DACA is an uncertain one. However, public support for DACA (and Dreamers themselves) is at an all-time high.
The effects of DACA on the lives of Dreamers are both immeasurable and invaluable. From providing a safe haven for eligible undocumented people seeking opportunities to giving ambitious youths the chance to pursue higher education and fruitful careers without worry, DACA is an imperative part of many lives. The uncertainty surrounding the program has left many Dreamers feeling anxious and insecure about their future.
At Familia America, our skilled legal professionals are experts in all things immigration law and strive to provide clarity and comprehensive guidance regarding DACA and the US immigration system in general. We understand the need for sound legal advice that can allay any fears you may have about DACA's viability, so contact us today and let us help you find the answers you're looking for