Washington, D.C. – Today immigrant youth and allies marched and rallied in D.C. and across the country marking one decade of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We honored the power building it took to win DACA and the decade-long fight to protect DACA recipients from countless right-wing attacks.
Last year, a federal judge in Texas stopped first-time DACA applications from being processed and left tens of thousands of immigrant young people without protections from the threat of deportation. Meanwhile, DACA continues to be under attack in the courts, as millions of undocumented people never qualified for DACA in the first place. This all shows while DACA is temporary, but for immigrant youth, home is here!
Katia Escobar, United We Dream Member and DACA eligible young person from Texas, said:
“I traveled all the way from Houston, Texas to be in D.C. today. When I first heard that DACA applications were being accepted again I had hope. Hope that I would be able to get a work permit to help support my family. Hope that it would be easier to pay for school. Hope that I could have protections from deportation. But after a federal judge ruled that USCIS couldn’t process any more first-time DACA applications, I saw the uncertainty of my immigration status continue.
DACA is proof that when we organize, we can win big. And it is this fact that renews my hope. Despite that victory, DACA continues under attack in the courts while millions of undocumented people never qualified for DACA over arbitrary rules. It is past time for Congress to act to pass permanent protections for millions of people like me!”
Karen Tumlin, founder and director of Justice Action Center, said:
“DACA was made possible by the sheer determination and resilience of undocumented youth—now adults—who demanded protection. But they’ve faced tremendous uncertainty, living their lives in two-year increments between application renewals, and from court fight to court fight. DACA was enacted a decade ago as a temporary solution in the absence of necessary congressional action—but it’s been long enough. It’s past time for Congress to act and offer real, permanent solutions for immigrant youth.”
Melisa Ramos, DACA recipient and UFW Foundation member from Washington state, said:
“A path to citizenship would mean many things to me and my loved ones. Primarily, a more secure life without fear of deportation, and with access to healthcare, access to higher education, and more job opportunities. It would mean the ability to fearlessly travel outside the U.S. to meet my family in Mexico and pursue different job and educational opportunities.
Undocumented people and farm workers are humans too, worthy of a prosperous life filled with opportunities for them and their loved ones. Farm workers, and undocumented people, including those brought here as children, have always contributed to the communities, states, and country they reside in. Taking hard jobs in construction, agriculture, housekeeping and more. We have always existed and live in your communities as business owners, neighbors, schoolmates, coworkers, clients, friends, and more!”