For nearly a decade, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has protected children brought into the country without documentation. The children protected by this program, known as Dreamers, have faced an uncertain future despite the legal protections in place to help them.
In recent years, this program has come under attack by politicians at the federal level and faced setbacks due to unfavorable court rulings. President Donald J. Trump made attempts to end DACA and has worked to restrict immigration in many other ways. Dreamers who once believed that they had a path to citizenship as adults suddenly had to worry about deportation in the future.
Now that the electoral college has officially confirmed Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States of America, what impact will his presidency have on the Dreamers protected under DACA?
Joe Biden has promised to take executive action immediately
Many legal changes take a long time as they work their way through both the House of Representatives and the Senate. While Congressional changes to DACA would benefit young immigrants, president-elect Biden is not waiting for Congress to act.
He has promised to sign an executive order protecting the dreamers the same day that he assumes office, January 20, 2021. Given that DACA was originally the result of an executive order when Biden was Vice President, this action reflects the history of DACA and shows how much of a priority it will be for the incoming administration.
What other immigration reform could come in the near future?
2021 could be a very promising year for immigrants, including the Dreamers protected under DACA. President-elect Biden has made public statements that he will change policy so that Dreamers can take out federal student loans and apply for Pell Grants. He also included Dreamers in his platform proposal to offer two years of free community college.
Young adults brought into the United States without documentation shouldn’t face punishment for the actions of other people. DACA gave these children a path toward citizenship once they became adults. With the promised policy changes in the next few months, Dreamers may soon stand on more equal footing with their classmates.