BY ISN STAFF | June 15, 2020

June 15, 2020 marks eight years since President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—a temporary solution that allows undocumented immigrant youth to apply for a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S. The creation of DACA was prompted by the extraordinary grassroots organizing and tireless advocacy across the country by immigrant communities, including undocumented youth, their families, and allies.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Because of President Trump’s 2017 decision to repeal the DACA program, recipients are awaiting an imminent Supreme Court decision which will determine the fate of the highly successful program and their ability to continue living, working, and worshipping in the U.S without fear of deportation. Faith leaders across the U.S. have since urged the Supreme Court to consider how the COVID-19 global health pandemic would impact DACA recipients and their families.

“As a Catholic organization, we believe that every human being should be treated with dignity and respect,” shared José Arnulfo Cabrera, director of education and advocacy for migration for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “Using a group of individuals as political pawns and threatening them with deportation to countries they can barely remember goes against our values as people of faith.”

A 2012 sit-in in President Obama’s campaign office, demanding an end to the deportation of DREAM Act eligible youth. 

He went on to say that, “Eight years ago today, my organizing mentor Marcos Saavedra staged a sit-in in Obama’s campaign office demanding that he sign an executive order to stop the deportation of DREAM Act eligible youth. Eight years later, I’m working to stop the deportation of DACA recipients. It’s time that the Senate passes the newest DREAM Act, the American Dream and Promise Act to keep families and communities together. It’s time that we start working toward a humane immigration reform bill.”

The American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which was passed by the House one year ago, aimed to provide DACA recipients, TPS holders, and DED holders a pathway to citizenship. It does not include add-ons that are harmful to families and communities, like increases in immigration enforcement and the militarization of border communities that could further jeopardize the lives of Black and Brown immigrants who are already subject to systemic racism and racialized policing by authorities.

TAKE ACTION: Join the Ignatian network by taking action: With the outcome of the Supreme Court debate uncertain, now more than ever is the time for Congress to pass a legislative solution to provide permanent security for the 800,000 current DACA recipients living in the United States. 

Learn more about the DACA program and the lives of DACA recipients through ISN’s Faces of DACA campaign.

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