AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

Ten Years Later – Where are Permanent Protections for DREAMers?

6/15/22 AILA Doc. No. 22061409. DACA, Removal & Relief

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association celebrates 10 years since the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (better known as DACA). DACA offered an opportunity for people brought to the U.S. as children who met certain criteria to apply for temporary protection from deportation. But over the past decade, permanent protections for DREAMers have not been enacted and far too many other immigrants face uncertainty and fear.

AILA President-Elect Jeremy McKinney said, “10 years ago, I joyfully watched President Obama’s formal Rose Garden speech announcing DREAMers would be protected; I was in a conference room with more than a thousand AILA members. The word HOPE had finally manifested into something other than a campaign slogan. Hundreds of thousands of young people have been protected by DACA over the last decade, but those protections have yet to be preserved in law and thus, are not certain. Over those 10 years, we also saw efforts to protect parents of American children and many other long-time residents fail. We urge Congress to pass legislation permanently protecting DREAMers as well as the many others who have lived for years in legal limbo. Americans overwhelmingly support legalizing the status of undocumented people. In fact, more than 70% of voters believe protecting DREAMers is the right thing to do. Legalizing their status would offer a bipartisan success that we could all be proud of this year.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “DACA recipients and their loved ones live in limbo, feeling unsure if another administration will come to power and try and destroy the fragile foundation the DACA program offers them. Congress’ inaction on this issue is a moral and political failure. The vast majority of Americans from both sides of the aisle support protections for Dreamers. May this be the year we see immigration reform legislation that establishes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants become the law of the land; it would be a victory for everyone, benefitting families, communities, and businesses throughout the United States.”