I still can’t believe that it has been three years.
It was a Wednesday afternoon. I was sitting at my desk at an internship I was finishing for the summer, and I saw my phone ring from the corner of my eye. It was a blocked number.
Thinking nothing of it, I picked up the phone, said hello, and listened to a White House staffer tell that President Obama would be making an announcement that day. An announcement that could help me, my brothers, and members of my community.
“I wanted to let you know,” said the staffer “because we want to make sure folks not only sign up for the program, but are not scammed by notarios.”
To be honest – that is all I remember from that phone call.
The details of the President’s announcement, the name of the staffer, or why they decided to reach out to me escape me to this day. All I remember from that are the words “immigration,” “relief,” and “announcement.”
Without hesitation I stood up, walked to the lobby of my office, changed the channel to CNN without even asking, and watched.
President Obama was on TV, talking about how a new directive would allow certain undocumented immigrants to apply for deferred action, obtain a work permit, and in some cases – a driver’s license.
It has been three years since August 15, 2012.
Already, we have seen 664,607 beneficiaries of the program, and a considerable number of renewals despite some delays.
Earlier this year, we saw Nebraska grants driver’s licenses to DACA beneficiaries, making the original 2012 DACA fully operational. And along the way, we have learned a significant amount of information regarding DACA beneficiaries.
Personally, I was able to go back to school, enroll, and graduate with my Masters in Public Administration:
— America’s Voice (@americasvoice) August 8, 2015
However, other students have also found their own success – making jobs and educational opportunities more accessible to undocumented youth.
While it is certainly a huge milestone, to be standing here three years later after a renewal, we must not forget where we the politics surrounding immigration, and the DACA program, are headed.
An expansion to DACA, along with the DAPA program, are currently tangled up in the courts. While at the same time, Republicans across the country are moving to strip away whatever victories we have accrued throughout the years. Whether that is in-state tuition rates for undocumented students or the original DACA program as a whole, anti-immigrants will stop at nothing to roll back our progress. Now, more than ever, undocumented youth need to be aware of what lies ahead and what 2016 presidential hopefuls are saying about the program.
Let this third DACA-versary be a time to celebrate our accomplishments, but also a reminder of all the work that lies ahead.
Have you found success through the DACA program? Share your story with us, and tell us what have you done with your DACA.
Want to learn more about what presidential hopefuls are saying about DACA and immigration as a whole? Visit our resource center, and find out what you can expect from both Democrats and Republicans who are running for President.
I am thank to have DACA. I cannot imagine my life without it, and I certainly look forward to the enduring that more undocumented youth find success, are covered by the program, and that just like ourselves, our parents are eventually able to benefit from a similar program.