DACA is Back!

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Memorandum committing the administration to preserve and fortify DACA. This memo directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to work with the Attorney General to secure DACA using every avenue that current laws allow. We expect strong actions as a result of this memo, including expanding DACA to protect people who have not been protected by the program in the past.   

The fact that the DACA memo was announced in the first day of this new administration is a testament to the efforts of the over 700,000 people in the DACAmented community, their families and friends, and immigrant rights advocates. Together, with the vision of DACAmented leaders, we have created a cultural moment where DACA is a day one priority for our country’s leaders. 74 percent of voters in the United States say Dreamers should be able to live and work in the United States.* This is a welcomed new beginning, and we are excited about the changes that these promises hold for the future.     

Immigration Mondays: Join us to Pray and Act

Join us on the last Monday of every month at 1 p.m. EDT for prayer and action in support of DACA and the broader immigrant community. RSVP for Immigration Mondays below to receive a zoom meeting link and password!   

Sign Up for Immigration Mondays

DACA is Still Under Threat

Unfortunately, DACA has another challenge already in the courts. Texas is leading a lawsuit to end DACA by calling it illegal. Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern Texas District Court is overseeing the case, and there are a few possible rulings. 

  • Hanen could rule in favor of DACA, either saying it is a legal for the president to use their authority under immigration to protect Dreamers, or saying that the states suing along with Texas failed to show how DACA hurt them, and don’t have the right to sue. 

While we know that DACA is right and that these lawsuits are little more than cruel ploys to place people at risk of deportation and separate families, it is most likely that Hanen will rule against DACA. There are three possible ways he could declare DACA unlawful. 

  • Hanen could say that Obama went about creating DACA the wrong way, that it should have been a regulation change instead of a memo. 
    • Biden could fix this by beginning the process of creating DACA under the rules for regulations. 
  • Hanen could say that DACA is unlawful because it is doing something the Immigration and Nationality Act - the law that covers immigration - doesn’t allow. 
    • Only Congress would be able to offer protection to DREAMers if this happens. 
  • Hanen could say that DACA is unconstitutional, saying that the President cannot create give immigration protection to this many people without Congress. 
    • Only Congress would be able to offer protection to DREAMers if this happens. 

Until a bill that includes a pathway to legalization becomes law our DACAmented community is still under threat. 

Day 1 Immigration Bill – The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, the Biden administration sent a day one immigration bill – the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 – to Congress. The bill includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people and an expedited pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 offers a temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants, with the option to apply for a green card after 5 years, and citizenship 3 years after that. DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status holders, and farmworkers who qualify could all apply for a green card immediately, and for citizenship after 3 years. 

Ask Congress to work together in a bipartisan way to pass the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. We need to end the uncertainty and pass this law in the first 100 days of this new Congress. When members of Congress do pass this bill, it must include a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, their families, and the broader undocumented immigrant community. It must not include funding for cruel and ineffective detention and deportation practices that harm undocumented communities. Ask your members of Congress to meet the energy of this moment with legislation that will honor the efforts of DACAmented communities over the last decades. Now is the time for bi-partisan leadership. A pathway to legalization is long overdue.  

For DACAmented individuals, their families, and the broader undocumented community, home is here in this country. Ask Congress to reflect this reality in our laws so that no person continues to live in fear of losing their home, family, or community.  

Take Action

Dream and Promise Act/Dream Act

The Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6)/Dream Act (S.264) creates a pathway to citizenship for 2.5 million Dreamers, TPS holders, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients. It previously passed in the House with bipartisan support in 2019. 

In March, the House passed the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6). Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to pass these bills and turn them into a reality. 

The Dream Act is a first step towards the goal of creating a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented and under-documented immigrant people who are home in the United States. Our immigrant communities need you to advocate for every opportunity to provide a pathway to citizenship. While this bill is a step in the right direction, it still excludes many of our immigrant neighbors. Contact your Congressmembers and them to support this bill and commit to working on more inclusive legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million of our neighbors.  

Contact your Senators and ask them to support the Dream Act (S. 264) and commit to working on more inclusive legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million of our neighbors.    

Take Action

What Does This Mean for DACA Recipients? 

  • If you have never had DACA and are eligible for the program, you can apply for the first time. If financial resources are a barrier to you renewing, find support in these resources from United We Dream for DACA recipients who need support
  • If you already have DACA, renew your DACA permit.  
  • If you received a 1-year renewal of your DACA permit, you will automatically have your protections extended to two years. 
  • Ask Congress to pass the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a bill that provides legal status and a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients without increasing funding for cruel and ineffective detention and deportation practices that harm other undocumented communities in the first 100 days of this new Congress.
  • Ask your Senators to pass the Dream Act, a bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for 2.5 million Dreamers, TPS holders, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients.  

How to respond as an Ally 

  • Donate to DACAmented neighbors renewing their DACA permit, or hold a special offering at your church for DACAmented neighbors in your community. 
  • Ask Congress to pass the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a bill that provides legal status and a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients without increasing funding for cruel and ineffective detention and deportation practices that harm other undocumented communities in the first 100 days of this new Congress.
  • Ask your Senators to pass the Dream Act, a bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for 2.5 million Dreamers, TPS holders, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients.  

Brief History of the DACA Program 

President Obama first announced DACA as an executive order on June 15, 2012, a little over eight years ago, after continued pressure from young undocumented people and the faith community. Under DACA, almost 700,000 people who migrated to the U.S. as children and met other requirements were able to apply for and receive work permits and protection from deportation. 

On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration terminated DACA. Their decision was challenged in the courts. This past November, the Supreme Court heard arguments on DACA and announced their decision on June 18, 2020. 

Supreme Court Decision on DACA 

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2017 was “arbitrary and capricious.” That means the way the Trump administration went about ending DACA was not right because they failed to give enough reasons and explanations for why they ended it. That Supreme Court victory was a testament to the efforts of the more than 700,000 people in the DACAmented community and their families and friends.  

New York Court Ruling on DACA 

On December 4, 2020, a judge in New York ordered the Trump administration to return DACA to its original state. In question this time was a Department of Homeland Security memo from July 28, 2020, where the Trump and DHS tried to circumvent the Supreme Court decision on DACA and tried to dismantle the program as we know it by announcing that DHS would reject all initial, first-time DACA applications and limit all pending DACA renewal applications for protection from deportation and work permits from two-year renewals to one-year renewals.  

Thanks to this new ruling, for the first time since 2017, USCIS began accepting DACA applications from first time applicants. The judge also ordered that all the one-year permits given to DACA recipients under Wolf’s order be immediately extended to two years instead, and that the Department of Homeland Security must post a public notice within three days stating that DACA applications would once more be accepted and processed for people not currently enrolled in DACA. 

 

*Pew Research Center: Americans broadly support legal status for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.