A year ago, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive, an initiative announced by President Obama last June, to grant a two-year reprieve from deportation and work authorization to young undocumented immigrants.
NCLR Affiliates and partner organizations have done incredible work to educate our community about this initiative and to assist young people to apply for this much-needed relief from deportation. From conducting ongoing community education sessions to providing individual assistance in completing applications to establishing innovative lending models to help young people pay the application fee, NCLR Affiliates have been critical in transforming the lives of those who have received deferred action.
The success of the initiative can be measured by the stories of the more than 400,000 people whose applications have been approved and who can live without the fear of deportation while continuing their education and contributions to their communities. This feat also demonstrates that government officials can provide public education materials and receive and review more than 500,000 applications in a very short amount of time.
While we reflect on the attainment of DACA and the significance it has had on the lives young people, we continue to advocate for a permanent solution that will provide the ability for young people and the rest of the 11 million undocumented people in our country to earn citizenship here in the country they contribute to and call home.