The future of more than 600,000 undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program got a welcomed boost from President Biden. His Administration issued a ruling that will codify and strengthen the program in an effort to shield the program from disbandment. His actions stem from his belief that DACA recipients in Illinois and other cities are an integral part of their communities, and that their contributions are good for the US economy. The ruling is set to take effect on October 31.
What is DACA?
DACA was originally instituted by former President Barak Obama to protect young undocumented immigrants, who were illegally brought into the US, from deportation. In addition, the DACA program gives recipients an opportunity to live and work in the US legally, albeit temporarily. While there are no offers of citizenship yet in this program, DACA participants do have access to some benefits that traditionally pertain to US citizens.
While Biden has made his decision known, not everyone is on board. The political conflict between Republicans and Democrats has hindered the program from moving forward, and subjected it to infighting and lawsuits. Republicans, many of whom did not agree with the DACA program at the outset, are blocking a bill that would open a door for DACA recipients to gain US citizenship. It is a bill that President Biden will continue to oppose.
Dream or nightmare?
Despite the hope that President Biden’s measure instilled, the plight of DACA beneficiaries still hangs in the balance. While this new ruling adds a degree of stabilization, DACA’s future is still in limbo due to continued challenges in the political arena. And, with both sides digging in their heels in opposition to one another, the battle continues. There is still no path to citizenship. But the years’ long political posturing is not new. DACA recipients have gone through highs and lows resulting from conflicting decisions from different administrations, but their own fight to stay in the US is also formidable.