Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - 1st Anniversary
One year ago, on August 15 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive, an initiative announced by President Obama in June of last year, to grant a 2-year reprieve from deportation and work authorization to young unauthorized immigrants. In just under a year more than 500,000 people have applied, and over 400,000 people have been approved—a remarkable feat of mobilization among unauthorized immigrant communities, and for government officials at USCIS. DACA has profoundly changed the lives of those who have received the status, who now have the opportunity to live without fear of deportation, and use their skills and education to work legally.
As DACA turns 1, The Center for American Progress will look at the results, successes, and challenges presented by the directive. Professor Tom K. Wong—himself formerly an undocumented immigrant—and a team of researchers at UCSD have analyzed data from over 450,000 DACA applications, received through Freedom of Information Act requests. This data provides a wealth of information through which to understand where DACA applicants come from and where they live in the U.S., as well as other information, such as the gender and age breakdown of the population. Most crucially, this data opens a window to assess just how well the DACA program has been functioning, and where it can be improved. Please join the Center for American Progress for this important discussion on the first year of DACA.
.June 15, 2012
Remarks by the President on Immigration
2:09 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, Secretary Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take to mend our nation’s immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just — specifically for certain young people sometimes called “Dreamers.”
These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.
Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life — studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class — only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.
That’s what gave rise to the DREAM Act. It says that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here for five years, and you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, you can one day earn your citizenship. And I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.
Now, both parties wrote this legislation. And a year and a half ago, Democrats passed the DREAM Act in the House, but Republicans walked away from it. It got 55 votes in the Senate, but Republicans blocked it. The bill hasn’t really changed. The need hasn’t changed. It’s still the right thing to do. The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.
As I said in my speech on the economy yesterday, it makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans — they’ve been raised as Americans; understand themselves to be part of this country — to expel these young people who want to staff our labs, or start new businesses, or defend our country simply because of the actions of their parents — or because of the inaction of politicians.
In the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system, what we’ve tried to do is focus our immigration enforcement resources in the right places. So we prioritized border security, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history — today, there are fewer illegal crossings than at any time in the past 40 years. We focused and used discretion about whom to prosecute, focusing on criminals who endanger our communities rather than students who are earning their education. And today, deportation of criminals is up 80 percent. We’ve improved on that discretion carefully and thoughtfully. Well, today, we’re improving it again.
Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.
Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. It is –
Q (Inaudible.) THE PRESIDENT: — the right thing to do.
Q — foreigners over American workers.
THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, sir. It’s not time for questions, sir.
Q No, you have to take questions. THE PRESIDENT: Not while I’m speaking.
Precisely because this is temporary, Congress needs to act. There is still time for Congress to pass the DREAM Act this year, because these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments. And we still need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our 21st century economic and security needs — reform that gives our farmers and ranchers certainty about the workers that they’ll have. Reform that gives our science and technology sectors certainty that the young people who come here to earn their PhDs won’t be forced to leave and start new businesses in other countries. Reform that continues to improve our border security, and lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Just six years ago, the unlikely trio of John McCain, Ted Kennedy and President Bush came together to champion this kind of reform. And I was proud to join 23 Republicans in voting for it. So there’s no reason that we can’t come together and get this done.
And as long as I’m President, I will not give up on this issue, not only because it’s the right thing to do for our economy — and CEOs agree with me — not just because it’s the right thing to do for our security, but because it’s the right thing to do, period.
And I believe that, eventually, enough Republicans in Congress will come around to that view as well. And I believe that it’s the right thing to do because I’ve been with groups of young people who work so hard and speak with so much heart about what’s best in America, even though I knew some of them must have lived under the fear of deportation. I know some have come forward, at great risks to themselves and their futures, in hopes it would spur the rest of us to live up to our own most cherished values. And I’ve seen the stories of Americans in schools and churches and communities across the country who stood up for them and rallied behind them, and pushed us to give them a better path and freedom from fear –because we are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.
Department of Homeland Security announcement on Young People and Immigration
June 15, 2012
MEMORANDUM FOR: David V. Aguilar Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Alejandro Mayorkas Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services John Morton Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
FROM: Janet Napolitano
SUBJECT: Secretary of Homeland Security Exercising Prosetorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children
By this memorandum, I am setting forth how, in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should enforce the Nation’s immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home. As a general matter, these individuals lacked the intent to violate the law and our ongoing review of pending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them. However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities.
The following criteria should be satisfied before an individual is considered for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion pursuant to this memorandum:
• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
• is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces ofthe United States;
• has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
• is not above the age of thirty.
Our Nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner. They are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Indeed, many of these young people have already contributed to our country in significant ways. Prosecutorial discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.
US Citizenship & Immigration Services – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process
Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Estados Unidos- Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia
July 09, 2014 Statement by the President Obama on Immigration
- 5/16/13 Republican leaders to block US immigration measure
- July 31, 2014 – House Republicans abandoned a bill to address the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border
- Aug 1, 2014 – House Republicans passed a bill to deport Dream Act students under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program