DACA: A Decade of Progress and Inaction

Today marks 10 years since President Obama established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since then, more than 830,000 young people have been able to live and work without fear of deportation. DACA has been under attack since its creation, including by a United States District Court ruling last summer effectively keeping hundreds of thousands of people in legal limbo. Meanwhile, efforts to build on DACA’s success by establishing a clear and humane pathway to citizenship continue to stall.

Kica Matos, vice president of initiatives, reflects on DACA’s anniversary and its legacy:

“Ten years of DACA marks a decade of progress, but also inaction. Although DACA has brought relief for hundreds of thousands, many more who are ineligible for the program continue to be detained, deported, and torn from their families and loved ones. The Biden administration is doing the right thing following the lead of tireless leaders like United We Dream and MALDEF to fight for DACA recipients and their families in court. Honoring the youth who organized and won freedom and dignity a decade ago means showing that same courage today. We must establish a pathway to citizenship, end the criminalization and detention of immigrants, ensure due process and dignity for all, and uproot the racism and xenophobia at the heart of immigration law. We can take concrete steps for each, with providing lawyers for everyone in immigration proceedings and the implementation of DACA the most immediate among them. Let the next 10 years be the proof.”


About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit vera.org.