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For Immediate Release

UWD Staff

DACA is Right and Legal, Yet Not Enough. Congress & President Biden Must Take Action and Pass Permanent Protections

Contact: press@unitedwedream.org

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the 600,000+ immigrants it is currently protecting. The ongoing legal uncertainty comes as a result of last summer’s ruling by a federal judge in Texas in favor of putting a partial end to DACA by blocking new first-time applications. This has left hundreds of thousands of immigrant young people without protections from the threat of deportation. 

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, said: 

“We know DACA is right and this continued legal battle leaves the lives of DACA recipients, DACA-eligible youth, and their families with the threat of detention and deportation, loss of income, and so much more. Not only that, but there are over 80 thousand DACA eligible young people who applied for the program for the first time last year but saw their applications frozen because of attacks from politicians who want to hurt us. That is what this fight is about. A fight to protect people, families and communities across the country. We will continue to organize unapologetically with hope and love. We need the courts to do the right thing and find DACA legal, and our elected leaders to pass permanent legislation so that we are no longer living court case to court case.”

Aimee Benitez, CHIRLA member and DACA holder from Guatemala, said:

At age 8, I was translating for my parents, reviewing legal documents and guiding them in a country that continuously strips us of our basic human rights. Then in 2017, I didn’t have a chance to apply for DACA, because Trump halted the program. I was one month away from applying.  I felt hopeless and defeated. All I wanted was to get an education and serve my community. When the Supreme Court overturned Trump in 2020, I rushed to apply and earn DACA. I now major in public affairs and international relations at UCLA. Last year, a Texas judge again ended DACA applications and left millions out, and here we are in appeals court. Let me be clear: DACA was not a gift from anyone. We won it through the relentless organizing of undocumented young people of color across the nation. Under the banner of ‘Undocumented and Unafraid,’ they forced the nation to face the injustice of treating immigrants like criminals for seeking a new path for themselves. In ten years, a DACA program meant as a springboard for young immigrants became a golden cage. Today, we say enough is enough.”

Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of Justice Action Center, said: 

DACA is fully legal, and attorneys made those points repeatedly inside the courtroom today. More importantly, DACA is the morally right thing for our country. While this may have been lost in the legal discussion today, it is not lost on each of us who know and love DACA recipients, and those waiting to be part of the program. We also know that DACA is not — and never has been — enough. Immigrants need the security and permanence to live their lives fully in the communities they love.” 

Jose Lopez, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, said:

“The uncertainty DACA recipients, eligible-youth, their families, and community live through is cruel. We know DACA is right and has opened many opportunities for hundreds of thousands throughout the country. It is due to the fierce organizing and tenacity of undocumented youth that we have been able to keep DACA alive, but we can no longer continue to live in and out of the courtroom. We urge President Biden and Congress to act swiftly and pass permanent protections including a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people. It is time to deliver on their promises and protect our communities.”

Ronnate Asirwatham, Government Relations Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, said: 

“DACA has provided life-changing opportunities for Dreamers for over a decade, but with no guarantee of protection from detention or deportation. It is clear that we need to guarantee full protections and a pathway to citizenship for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented family members, friends, and coworkers living and working in the United States. We call on the Fifth Circuit Court and all of our elected officials to listen to the moral call to welcome our neighbor and provide permanent protections for DACA recipients.”

Sister Marie Lucey, Associate Director of Franciscan Action Network (FAN), said:

 “All of us know many DACA recipients who contribute in multiple ways to this country’s economic, social, and moral fabric.  We also know that they live every day with uncertainty.  They and their families need and deserve permanent protection.  Our faith in the God of truth and love and our Franciscan values of justice and compassion compel us to call on the courts and elected officials to provide permanent protections and a path to citizenship for all DACA recipients, their families and communities.”

Basilisa Alonso, Political Director of New American Leaders Action Fund, said: 

“The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of young people. It allows us to live, work, and strengthen our country without fear of deportation. But due to the legal challenge  posed by conservative attorneys general, countless others are left without the opportunity to apply for this critical program. Today’s hearing underscores that while it is a critical program, DACA has always been a temporary solution for fixing part of our inhumane immigration system and falls short of what our communities need. As a movement of New Americans, immigrants, and people of color, we are proud to join advocates across the country in fighting for undocumented peoples’ rights and creating a country that represents and includes all people. It is past time for the Biden administration and Congress to deliver on their promises and create permanent pathways to citizenship for all undocumented people and a compassionate, equitable immigration system.”


The Home Is Here national coalition is fighting to protect DACA recipients, their families, and all immigrant communities at the U.S. Supreme Court. DACA recipients are undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. They are also our nurses, our teachers, our coworkers, our family members, and our friends — and their home is here. For more information visit HomeIsHere.Us.

This March marks 21 years of ICE CBP & DHS terrorizing our immigrant communities.

Ever since their creation, ICE and CBP have targeted, detained, abused and deported immigrants while separating loved ones and tearing apart communities. Donate 21 dollars to help us fight back against the 21 years of terror.