Top White House officials to meet Dreamers for DACA anniversary
Top administration officials, including Vice President Harris, will host more than 20 “Dreamers” at the White House Wednesday for discussions on preserving DACA protections.
DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, was started 10 years ago Wednesday by former President Obama, in an effort to kickstart immigration reform negotiations while protecting Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors.
“For all they have done for our nation, and all they will continue to do, DACA recipients and their families deserve better. Today, I’m renewing my call for Congress to redouble its efforts to build a smart and compassionate immigration system that offers Dreamers a path to citizenship,” said Obama in a statement.
A White House official said Tuesday that the administration is hosting the Dreamers to celebrate the anniversary of the program, which President Biden “considers one of his proudest accomplishments with President Obama.”
Aside from meeting with Vice President Harris, the Dreamers will meet with first lady Jill Biden and Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, a powerful administration official whose portfolio includes immigration policy.
“These discussions will focus on the President’s commitment to preserving this landmark policy, and call on Congress to pass legislation that provides lasting protections for Dreamers and make the economic case for providing Dreamers a pathway to citizenship,” said the official.
Dreamers unable to make the White House meeting will be invited to a virtual conversation with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou.
The meetings come as DACA celebrates a somewhat lackluster 10th anniversary, as a federal judge in Texas has ruled the policy to be illegal, preventing the Biden administration from signing up new applicants for its protections.
Under DACA, eligible Dreamers were given a two-year work permit with deferral from deportation and allowed to apply for an international travel allowance.
More than 800,000 people have used the program to access work and educational opportunities, as well as basic government services that are otherwise unavailable to undocumented immigrants.
Currently, 611,000 people depend on DACA benefits.
But the program, based on an executive action, was never meant to be permanent.
Its continued application has become a lifeline for Dreamers, but its limitations have been laid bare by continued political and legal wrangling that’s blocked new applications and made renewals uncertain.
“We are a better nation — a stronger nation — because of DACA recipients,” said Obama.
“It is not lost on them or me that the DACA program was, and is, temporary. It remains vulnerable to politicians who choose to ignore DACA’s remarkable benefits to our country. These Dreamers lived through the cruelty of the previous administration’s attacks and legal challenges to the program, their families, and their communities,” he added, calling on Congress to build a “commonsense immigration system.”
“It’s on all of us to finish this work.”
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