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The New Dream for DACA Recipients

For many immigrants all over the nation, their future and status hung in limbo with no guarantee of a solid outcome. DACA, which stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” is an immigration policy enacted under the Obama administration that allows immigrants with unlawful presence in the United States to stay with deferred action from deportation on the basis that they were brought into this country as children. The program is renewable for two years at a time. Being eligible for DACA allows immigrants to obtain a work permit.

 

Under the Trump administration, DACA and the fate of many ‘dreamers’ was in jeopardy. In 2017, Trump announced his plan to end DACA which led to an uproar of a response across the nation and many court rulings. Trump’s efforts to end DACA fell flat this summer when it reached the Supreme court and the 5-4 ruling blocked the Trump administration from ending the program. However, due to the Trump’s administration due to block this effort, no new DACA applications were accepted during this time period. Meaning, the only people who could apply for the DACA program were the ones who were renewing their applications. 

 

In December, a federal judge ordered the restoration of the program in its entirety. Essentially, undoing the damage and blockage the Trump administration had created to old and potential new dreamers. This order was a win across the nation for many immigrants who have had no route to stability in living in the United States. The court ruling, following the supreme court decision from last summer now allowed for new applicants to apply for the program, something that was not a possibility under the Trump administration. According to a report from the Department of Homeland Security, 2,713 new dreamers had applied to the program by the end of December. 

 

This new measure is a great opportunity for many young people who have been left behind by this country’s immigration policies and for people who strive for a better and stable life. There seems to finally be light at the end of the tunnel for dreamers under the Biden administration. On his first day in office President Biden signed a memorandum that directs the attorney general to “preserve and fortify” DACA. President Biden has also been vocal about doing more than just a renewable status period. The Biden-Harris administration has been vocal about enabling legislation that will allow Dreamers a pathway to citizenship. This would be a huge step for Dreamers because even under the Obama administration, the DACA program led to no guarantee of citizenship. If Biden is able to pass legislation that can lead to residency and citizenship, then Dreamers will be able to live a more stable and promising life. 

 

However, the DACA program is still vulnerable and hanging by a thread until the Biden administration puts more pressure on it. There are still possibilities of legal challenges, but right now it’s a matter of the current administration to come up with a concrete plan to enable this stable pathway to potential citizenship for Dreamers. 

 

What happens from now on through the Biden administration will be very important and life changing for Dreamers all over the nation. This is a very monumental step forward in immigration reform and the chance for America to prove there really is an “American Dream,” for everyone not just a select few. 

I'm a senior at FIU, majoring in Criminal Justice on the Pre-Law track. My goal is to one day go to law school and become a lawyer. I love to read mystery and thriller books that keep me guessing. I am an advocate for our generation being a catalyst to social justice. You could say Elle Woods is who I channel in life.