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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - Making Your Dreams Come True

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - Making Your Dreams Come True

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a memorandum allowing “deferred action” (DACA) to immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and meet other specific requirements. It is being hailed by immigrant-rights advocates as a bold response to the broken immigration system. The move temporarily eliminates the possibility of deportation for many youths.

Receiving DACA allows undocumented young people to obtain a driver's license and work, a huge help for those hoping to pay for college or help their families! The authorization lasts two years, but decreased the risk of potential deportation for hundreds of thousands of young people.

DACA has changed many young people’s lives for the better, with 455,455 applications approved by USCIS so far, and about 49,000 currently pending. Through DACA, young people brought to the United States before age 16 who fit certain other factors have been able to obtain work authorization and thus driver’s licenses and social security numbers. Not to mention, a reprieve from the constant fear of deportation. 

What else has DACA successfully chipped away at? The unfortunate feeling that many of these children have - that they are different from everyone else and that they do not belong, when many of them are just as American as any other child in this country. The pressure of being constantly at risk of deportation, of having to live in the shadows.

Many of my now-DACA clients felt like they did not have any hope until DACA came along. A lot of them, although very bright and capable, did not finish high school because there seemed to be no point, as nothing could seem to help their situation. They could not even get an identification document. Now, they are finishing high school and getting their GEDs. They are obtaining driver’s licenses. They are working, they are going to school, they are starting businesses. One piece of paper – their DACA approval notice – changes their entire life, and changes the way they are able to contribute to their community.

It is important to remember that DACA is not a permanent fix. President Obama called it a “temporary stopgap measure.” Congress must now act to give these young people a real and permanent opportunity to continue contributing to our country and bettering themselves.

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