National Immigration Forum

Urge Congress to Protect Dreamers

Over ten years ago, hundreds of thousands of undocumented young immigrants, who came to the U.S. as children, commonly referred to as Dreamers, found a new sense of security and hope under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which allowed them to work and study in the U.S. while protecting them from deportation.  

But in September 2023, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Southern District of Texas ruled that the Biden administration’s new rule codifying DACA is not lawful, bringing it a step closer to its potential end. Current recipients won’t be affected. The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately issue a final ruling on the legality of DACA – likely in 2024 – but DACA’s days appear to be numbered. 

In the meantime, some 600,000 current DACA recipients and their employers and schools remain in ever greater limbo. Millions of others whose applications aren’t allowed to be processed, or who do not qualify, remain stuck.  

Dreamers make vital contributions to our communities. Over the next decade, Dreamers who currently have DACA will contribute an estimated $433.4 billion to the GDP if they can continue to work legally in the U.S. They play an essential role in our economy and post-pandemic recovery: nearly 30,000 DACA recipients work in health care across the U.S., and around one million DACA recipients and other Dreamers are essential workers. 

Though Dreamers have deep ties in American communities and have established themselves as vital contributors to our economy, they still live without a pathway to permanent status and citizenship - and face the possibility of losing their protections due to these pending legal challenges to DACA.  

An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that Dreamers – who were brought to the U.S. as children, and have studied, worked, and built families in this country – should be able to stay in the United States permanently and keep contributing to our communities and economy.  

Congress has the power to make these legal challenges moot by passing common sense, bipartisan legislation that offers a permanent solution to Dreamers. Our representatives must take long overdue action to protect these vital populations. Take action and urge your members of Congress to act!  
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