Legislation to Protect Dreamers is Vital

12/16/21 DACA

AILA member Paúl A. Pirela wrote an article for the Fall 2021 edition of the AILA Law Journal entitled “Deferring the Dream; An Analysis of DACA-Related Litigation and Legislation” and we welcome his blog post explaining why  of DACA and DREAM litigation as well as the legislation which has sadly languished for decades now and means young people brought to the U.S. as children can still face deportation. AILA members, read  your free digital copy of the law journal today!

“DACA means protection for immigrants, those who entered as children through no fault of their own, who have lived here, attended school, worked, and contributed to our society, and who think of themselves as American. The time for legislative action is now.” See Geoffrey A. Hoffman, Legal Consequences of DACA Rescission, Houston J. of Int’l Law-Sidebar (Oct. 23, 2017), 120 (emphasis added).

I chose to research this topic because it is an issue that hits very close to home. I was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela and grew up in a very diverse area of Houston, Texas. Some of my friends and loved ones were able to take part in the DACA program and I have personally seen the positive impact it had on their lives and on American society. I can attest to Prof. Hoffman’s words above because I have seen it in the lives of my friends. They have a great impact on me as well. These individuals were a large part of the inspiration for me to become an attorney and to be an advocate for immigrant rights.

I would ask the reader of my AILA Law Journal article to not take it as a political stance on the DACA program but as a humanitarian one founded on the basis of justice and fairness. As you will read in the article, many versions of the DREAM Act (which would give legal status to Dreamers) have been proposed over the course of the last 20 years. The proposals have drawn support from both sides of the aisle. Yet, somehow, the Act has never been passed by Congress.

If the reader is to take one thing away from the article, it should be that it truly is time for Congress to finally act. The protection of Dreamers cannot be left to the whims of changing administrations nor the uncertainty of litigation. Many people have relied on this program for the last decade and their reliance interests must be protected. Hopefully, the looming outcome of recent litigation will ensure that the Dream Act will finally be passed and that this group of nearly 800,000 young people, all of whom contribute to our American society, will finally be allowed to pursue legal status in the country they call home. The dream should no longer be deferred. The time for action has come.

by Paúl Pirela