After 10 Years of DACA, the Time for Congress to Deliver Permanent Protections is Now

June 15, 2022
Elyssa Pachico  | +1 503 347 23 29 | [email protected] 
Myneilles Negron | +1 703 585 6727 | [email protected] 


June 15 marks 10 years since organizing efforts by immigrant youth resulted in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In order to build a compassionate, fair immigration system, the U.S. Congress must approve a path towards permanent residence for the nation’s 611,000 DACA recipients. In the meantime, the Biden administration must uphold protections for DACA holders by finalizing a new rule that would better shield the program from legal challenges.  


“Ten years of DACA marks a decade of attacks and a decade of inaction to protect people like me,” said Dulce Dominguez, fundraising director at Alianza Americas and a DACA recipient. “Year after year, Democrats campaign on promises of permanent protections for our communities. The Democrats have the power, and it’s time for them to deliver.” 


One of Biden’s earliest executive orders instructed DHS to fortify and preserve DACA, but there are ongoing battles in federal appeals court. This is because on July 16 2021, the U.S. District Court of Southern Texas held that DACA policy is “illegal.” As a result of this ongoing court battle, no new requests for DACA are being accepted at this time, and approximately 80,000 new DACA applications are currently stalled. 


“The constant legal battles over DACA leaves the lives of people like me and my family in a never-ending cloud of uncertainty and dread,” said Erick Garcia, senior technologist at Alianza Americas and a DACA recipient. “My home is here, but my whole life I’ve been made to feel expendable. We need Congress to deliver expansive permanent protections that don’t leave anyone in my community behind.”


(Review Alianza Americas’ advocacy guide on the Biden-Harris administration’s advances and shortcomings so far in terms of immigration policy.)


“DACA has given me a sense of normality. This program means opportunity; it’s given me the chance to work in my career,” said Daniel Candelaria, a DACA recipient in Texas. “DACA is constant anxiety that the program will be eliminated. DACA is not enough… we need a law that gives undocumented people a path to live, to regularize their lives and becomes part of the fabric of this nation.” 


Texas is one of the states that has filed suit in federal court to terminate the DACA program. There are an estimated 116,030 DACA recipients in Texas; should the program end, the state would lose an estimated $6 billion annually in gross domestic product.  

“Through DACA, I obtained my drivers license, furthered my education, established and built my credit, found an amazing job, and at age 20 I purchased my first vehicle on my own. Feats of which I am very proud, but it’s only one piece of the success stories of just over 4,000 DACA recipients in the state of Alabama alone,” said Brandon Vela, a DACA recipient in Alabama and a spokesperson for the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ). “If the program is canceled, rescinded, or altered, it could mean that everything we have ever worked for and built up in the country that we call home could be gone overnight… It’s time we talked about immigration reform, about a more secure program that would allow more individuals to contribute to this country’s great economic infrastructure. The time is now. We need this. America needs this.” 


Alabama is also among the eight states where Republican attorneys general are leading the charge to end the DACA program. Currently, in Alabama, there are an estimated 4,190 DACA recipients; should the program end, the state would lose an estimated $229.5 million in annual gross domestic product. 


Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. Alianza’s digital organizing powerhouse is

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