The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, designed to support undocumented immigrants born in the United States, celebrated its 10th anniversary on June 15.
Jaclyn Kelley-Widmer is a professor of law Cornell Law School and directs the Immigration Law and Advocacy Clinic.
"The DACA program has been a lifeline for many undocumented young people, allowing them to work and live without fear of deportation over the last decade. DACA has helped recipients, who by definition spent much of their childhoods in the United States, by integrating them not just into the workforce, but into higher education and other public spheres. By association, DACA recipients’ families and larger communities have benefitted by the program, as have the employers, universities, and other organizations that have hired DACA recipients.
"However, the DACA program was always meant to be a temporary stopover to assist this community on the way to legislation for long-term status. Today, DACA is extremely limited: it is not available for first-time applicants, and undocumented students graduating high school do not have this protection. Even if it were open to new applicants, the DACA requirement that an applicant have moved to the U.S. by June 15, 2007, means that only a small fraction of undocumented youth could apply today. Reaching ten years is not so much a milestone to celebrate, but rather should be a push for lawmakers to reach a long-overdue legislative solution."