If you’ve ever wondered when DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, started, you’re not alone. DACA is an important immigration policy that has had a significant impact on the lives of thousands of individuals in the United States. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of DACA, its evolution, legal challenges it has faced, and its current status. Let’s dive in!
DACA, established in 2012, is an immigration policy that provides temporary protection from deportation and work authorization to undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. To be eligible for DACA, individuals must meet certain criteria, such as having arrived in the country before the age of 16, continuously residing in the US since June 15, 2007, and meeting educational or military service requirements. DACA offers various benefits, including access to work permits, driver’s licenses, and Social Security numbers, enabling recipients to contribute to society and pursue their dreams.
Origins of DACA
To understand when DACA started, it’s essential to consider the broader context of immigration policies in the United States. Over the years, the issue of immigration has been a subject of intense debate and policymaking. The situation for undocumented individuals, particularly those brought to the US as children, needed attention.
Before DACA’s inception, several factors played a role in highlighting the need for a more compassionate approach to immigration. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, first introduced in Congress in 2001, aimed to provide a pathway to legal status for undocumented individuals who came to the US as children. Although the DREAM Act faced various challenges and did not pass, it laid the groundwork for future actions.
The Birth of DACA
DACA was introduced on June 15, 2012, through executive action taken by President Barack Obama’s administration. The program was created to address the limbo status faced by undocumented individuals who arrived in the US as children and had no control over their immigration status.
By implementing DACA, the Obama administrationrecognized the need to protect these individuals from deportation and provide them with opportunities to work legally. DACA allowed eligible individuals to apply for a renewable two-year period of deferred action, which prevented their removal from the country and granted them work authorization.
The announcement of DACA received mixed responses. Supporters praised it as a compassionate solution for young immigrants who had spent most of their lives in the United States. They argued that these individuals, often referred to as Dreamers, were contributing members of society and deserved a chance to pursue education and employment without fear of deportation.
However, critics argued that DACA was an overreach of executive authority and undermined the rule of law. They believed that any action related to immigration should be decided by Congress rather than through executive action. The implementation of DACA faced political and legal challenges, setting the stage for a complex journey for the program.
DACA’s Impact and Evolution
Since its inception, DACA has had a significant impact on individuals and communities across the United States. Over the years, thousands of young immigrants have benefited from the program, enabling them to pursue higher education, secure employment, and contribute to their communities.
The positive effects of DACA extend beyond the individual beneficiaries. Studies have shown that DACA recipients experience increased earnings, educational attainment, and economic mobility. They have been able to obtain better job opportunities, support their families, and contribute to the economy through taxes and consumer spending.
Despite the positive outcomes, DACA has also faced challenges and controversies. Critics argue that the program provides amnesty to individuals who entered the country illegally, undermining immigration laws. The program’s temporary nature has also created uncertainty and limited long-term planning for DACA recipients.
Legal Challenges and Uncertainty
DACA has faced legal challenges throughout its existence. One significant case was Texas v. United States, where several states challenged the constitutionality of DACA. In 2016, the Supreme Court’s tied decision in United States v. Texas left DACA intact but also highlighted the need for a more permanent solution.
In addition to legal battles, the fate of DACA was further complicated by another executive action called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). This program, announced alongside an expansion of DACA in 2014, aimed to provide similar protections to parents of US citizens or lawful permanent residents. However, DAPA faced legal challenges and was ultimately blocked by the courts.
Attempts to Rescind DACA
In 2017, the Trump administration announced its decision to end DACA, sparking widespread concern and protests. The administration argued that DACA was an overreach of executive authority and placed the responsibility on Congress to find a legislative solution.
The decision to end DACA faced legal challenges, and in 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration had not followed proper procedures to rescind the program. The court’s decision allowed DACA to continue, providing temporary relief for recipients.
Current Status of DACA
Under the Biden administration, efforts to preserve DACA have continued. President Joe Biden has expressed support for DACA and introduced proposed legislation known as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which includes a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. However, the bill’s fate remains uncertain, as it requires congressional approval.
The future of DACA remains a topic of ongoing debate and discussion. There are calls for a permanent solution to provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. The outcome will have far-reaching consequences for the lives of Dreamers and the broader immigration landscape in the country.
DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, started in 2012 as an executive action by the Obama administration. It aimed to provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States as children. Since its inception, DACA has had asignificant impact on the lives of thousands of individuals, allowing them to pursue education, work legally, and contribute to their communities. However, the program has also faced legal challenges and uncertainty, with attempts to rescind it under the Trump administration. Currently, DACA’s future remains uncertain, but there are ongoing efforts to find a more permanent solution, including proposed legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. The outcome of these discussions will shape the lives of Dreamers and the broader immigration landscape in the United States.
- Can DACA recipients become citizens?
- While DACA provides temporary protection from deportation and work authorization, it does not provide a direct pathway to citizenship. However, there are proposed legislations, such as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which includes a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients if approved by Congress.
- How many people have benefited from DACA?
- As of September 2020, over 800,000 individuals have been approved for DACA since its inception in 2012.
- Is DACA only available for Mexicans?
- No, DACA is available to individuals from various countries, not just Mexico. It is open to undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States as children and meet the eligibility criteria, regardless of their country of origin.
- Can DACA recipients travel outside the United States?
- DACA recipients can apply for permission to travel outside the United States through a process called Advance Parole. However, the availability and requirements for Advance Parole may vary, and it’s essential to consult with an immigration attorney or trusted legal resource before making any travel plans.
- What happens if DACA is permanently terminated?
- If DACA is permanently terminated without a legislative solution in place, it would mean that current DACA recipients would lose their protected status and work authorization. They could face potential deportation and lose the ability to legally work in the United States. However, the political and legal landscape surrounding DACA is subject to change, and it’s important to stay informed about any developments or updates.
Please contact the Law Office of Ghenadie Rusu for more information about DACA.