Happy Anniversary DACA!


One year ago, after tremendous efforts led by undocumented youth and allies, the Obama administration announced a policy that would allow undocumented youth who meet certain criteria to apply for a temporary relief from deportation.  Known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the policy grants young people who have grown up in the United States the opportunity to contribute to their communities without having to live with the daily fear of possibly being deported and separated from their families.

We are proud that so many of our Affiliates across the country have made the implementation of DACA a success.  When the policy was announced a year ago, Affiliates were flooded with calls and visits from their clients who turned to them as a trusted voice in the community to explain how this affected DREAMers and how they could apply.  NCLR Affiliates held workshops, shared materials about the program, and answered countless questions from community members who were anxious about what this would mean for them.

As soon as the application process was announced, Affiliates saw their waiting rooms full of families eager to apply.  Moms came with their kids, and siblings sat together as they listened to workshop presentations and received assistance in filling out their applications.  Families worked together to remember previous addresses and to flip through binders or envelopes full of report cards, awards and certificates, photos, and anything else that would demonstrate eligibility.  In addition to providing information and assistance in completing the applications, NCLR Affiliates also created innovative programs to help young people afford the application fee.  One year later, more than half a million applications have been received by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and 291,859 applications have been approved.

Iván Lara Alcantara, ¡HICA!’s first Dreamer to be approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)!

It was exciting to hear from Affiliates about the approval notices received by the first DACA applicants they assisted. The Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) best described how we all felt when they heard the news about a DREAMer they assisted with the DACA application, “Iván now has many new opportunities open to him in the U.S., and we wish him the best of luck as he pursues his dreams!” 

DREAMers who have received deferred action continue to advocate for a permanent solution that allows them to earn citizenship.  Whether as a staffer on Capitol Hill, such as Erika Andiola, or by telling their stories to President Obama, DREAMers continue to demonstrate why our country will benefit immensely from enacting immigration reform.

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