“Today, we celebrate the contributions and success of young immigrants in Texas, made possible by the DACA policy which was enacted ten years ago. We also stress the important need for a legislative solution that provides economic security for our Dreamers and North Texas through a pathway to citizenship. Here in Texas, over 100,000 DACA recipients wield $3.5 billion in spending power and pay $417.7 million in state and local taxes every year. These young immigrants are creating jobs and bringing their intelligence and hard work to a multitude of industries. They’ve built their lives, homes, families, careers, and so much more here. I call on Congress to establish an earned pathway to citizenship for all Dreamers. Any further inaction leaves a vital population of immigrants beholden to the constraints that come with living under a temporary legal status and jeopardizes our region’s economy and communities. As the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear a case that could determine the future of the policy early next month and Dreamers are left in limbo, this is as urgent and important as ever.”
- Chris Wallace, President and CEO, North Texas Commission
President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program ten years ago via executive order. The program allowed children, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. prior to 2007, later changed to 2012, to live in the country legally, receive a work permit, obtain a driver’s license, and attend college.
To qualify for the program, the applicant must have:
- Resided continuously in the U.S. prior to June 15, 2012
- Be at least 15 years old and younger than 31
- Have not committed a misdemeanor or felony
- Either attend high school or received a GED
In 2017, the Trump administration announced it would move to end DACA. This led to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to temporarily pause any new applicants. However, Trump’s attempt to terminate the program failed following a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling to uphold DACA. And while this anniversary should be a moment of celebration and an opportunity to uplift the many contributions of DACA recipients, the looming threat of the policy’s end poses a risk to Dreamers.
In July of 2021, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a ruling holding DACA to be unlawful, which prevented USCIS from approving any new applications. On July 6, 2022, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear State of Texas vs. USA, which challenges DACA with a decision likely to be handed down this year. The ruling is anticipated to be negative, setting the stage for a SCOTUS fight next June.
On this important anniversary, we encourage you to reach out to your congressional members and urge them to support a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers. The best way to celebrate this historical policy is to treat Dreamers with the respect they deserve and give them a pathway to permanent citizenship.