WASHINGTON — Today marks the fifth anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth to live and work legally in the U.S.
In her previous work, Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union, was a leader of the immigrant youth movement, which made DACA possible.
“Protecting DACA is not only central for immigrants’ rights, it is deeply personal,” said Praeli. “DACA has provided members of my own family and community the opportunity to live fuller and better lives, no longer restrained by the threat of deportation.
“Here at the ACLU and so many other organizations, we are grounded in the fight to defend and advance the rights of immigrants of all walks of life. DACA is a lifeline and a reminder that this country still believes in all of our potential and welcomes our contributions.”
In 2012, President Barack Obama announced that his administration would allow undocumented youth to apply for two-year reprieves from deportation and permits to work in the U.S. legally.
In order to be eligible for DACA, a person needs:
- To be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Have entered the United States prior to their 16th birthday and before June 15, 2007
- Be currently in the United States
- Be in school, have graduated, or completed a general education program
- Pass a background check
Seventeen states have statewide policies permitting DACA recipients to pay in-state tuition at all state institutions of higher education. All states now allow DACA recipients to obtain driver’s licenses.
President Trump has said that DACA recipients are not a priority for deportation under his administration. Even though DACA is still in place, we have seen cases of DACA recipients come under fire, including Jessica Colotl in Georgia. According to the Center for American Progress, 800,000 people in the U.S. have received DACA.
In honor of the DACA anniversary, the ACLU is hosting a Facebook Live on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. You can watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/aclu.nationwide/.