New Day for DACA and Dreamers’ Children

December 9, 2020, Washington, DC—Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security opened the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to new applications for the first time in more than three years. This comes after a New York Federal Court ruling on Friday that ordered the government to reinstate the program immediately and to promote DACA to potential recipients.

Since 2017, hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and young adults have lived in fear and uncertainty following the Trump Administration’s illegal attempt to terminate the program and subsequent court cases. At least 300,000 eligible immigrants, including 55,000 of the youngest DACA-eligible applicants, had been locked out of protective status as a result of the Trump Administration’s cruel policies.

“Today there is reason to celebrate as hundreds of thousands of young people gain access to protective status to stabilize their lives,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of CLASP. “Over a quarter million children in the United States have a parent who is a DACA recipient, and now even more children can feel safe knowing their parents’ future is more secure. All children and parents deserve the security of knowing that when they wake up, their families will still be together.”

The full restoration of DACA is a critical first step, particularly with 200,000 DACA recipients currently serving on the frontlines of our nation’s COVID-19 response. However, all children in the United States deserve to always live free from the threat of separation from a parent. The Biden-Harris Administration and the new Congress will have the opportunity to ensure a path to citizenship for Dreamers and all undocumented immigrants.

After four years of anti-immigrant policies, a brighter future begins with a commitment to family unity. CLASP and its partners are calling for a transformation of public policies, systems, and investments to advance the wellbeing of all children, including millions of citizen children growing up in mixed-status immigrant families. Our country should value all children and prioritize their wellbeing in policy decisions.