It’s been 10 years since President Barack Obama enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was intended to provide some respite for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
The White House is opting not to raise the issue as advocates call for a permanent solution to DACA. On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris is marking the occasion by hosting a private event with a handful of DACA recipients.
DACA’s status has fluctuated since Obama signed an executive order enacting the action.
President Donald Trump rescinded DACA in 2017, but immigrants facing the prospect of deportation challenged in court. Amid legal challenges, President Joe Biden reinstated DACA making some of the legal challenges moot for now.
Meanwhile, some in Congress have called for a permanent solution. Many DACA recipients have remained in the United States for decades.
According to the National Immigration Law Center, DACA has allowed 825,000 immigrants the ability to pursue work and education in the United States. But because DACA was implemented by executive order and not by law, the cloud of deportation remains over recipients.
“Because we have arrived at a decade of DACA with no permanent protection or pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth and their loved ones, the past 10 years have also meant chronic uncertainty and stress for DACA recipients,” the organization wrote. “Living life in two-year increments or from court decision to court decision destabilizes our communities and stops people from living to their fullest potential.”
The group is calling on Congress not just to make DACA permanent but to offer a pathway to citizenship.
“If you stand with immigrant youth, now is the time to make it clear to Congress that they must act. We do not need any vague statements of support or delays; we need action on permanent protection before the end of this year,” the organization said.
The Dream Act, which would grant permanent resident status for DACA recipients, has been up for consideration with sponsors from both parties in the Senate numerous times since 2001 but has yet to get a vote.