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United We Dream Network Celebrates One Year of Deferred Action

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The following is a press release from United We DREAM:

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which protects many DREAMers from deportation and provides them the opportunity to work and fulfill their dreams.  DACA is the most significant victory for immigrant communities in over 25 years and DREAMers were at the forefront of making it happen.

“At one year, we can definitely say that DACA is working,” said Julieta Garibay, Legislative Affairs Associate at United We Dream (UWD), “in just twelve months, about half of the immediately eligible applicant pool has applied so far.  We’ve come a long way and have more work to do, but we’ve got the people and tools to get it done.”

DREAMers won the policy in 2012 after a grueling two year campaign to stop DREAMer deportations and build the political power necessary to force the White House to act.  Today, DREAMers are at the forefront of implementing the program on the ground, organizing to win broader immigration reform through the UWD’s “11 Million DREAMs” campaign and fighting everyday to stop the record number of unjust deportations which continue tearing families apart.

Over the last year, United We Dream affiliate organizations held well over 250 application clinics and information sessions, made countless phone calls and reached well over 200,000 individuals with information through our online systems and webinars and estimate that they assisted over 20,000 individuals complete their applications.

Now, United We Dream is hosting a campaign called Own the Dream which, together with our partners, is building ground teams in six cities to directly help even more young people apply for DACA, is planning to add even more regions in the coming months and is preparing to help DREAMers across the country to get ready to implement broader immigration policy changes when we win them.

This week – the Own the Dream campaign is launching a new mobile app – available for free on the iTunes and Google Play stores — called Pocket DACA.  Created by the Immigrant Advocates Network, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Immigration Council and DREAMers.

“With Pocket DACA, DREAMers and thousands of others will have the ability to screen potential DACA applicants for eligibility right in the palm of their hands,” said Myrna Orozco, United We Dream’s National Field Manager for the Own the Dream campaign.  “Now everyone will have access to the most accurate information and be able to find out exactly where to go to get trustworthy help.”

The stories of changed lives because of the Deferred Action victory abound.  “I went to a DREAMer led DACA clinic, started volunteering and received my work permit.  Now I’ve been hired to work — earning a regular salary and health care benefits – helping even more DREAMers apply for DACA and getting them involved in our movement for change,” said Mitzi Castro, Phoenix Field Organizer with the Own the Dream Campaign.

“A week doesn’t go by when we don’t hear about another DREAM leader receiving their work permit – it’s pretty cool,” said Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of the United We Dream Network.

“United We Dream’s philosophy is to never stop fighting for justice,” Jimenez said.  “Deferred Action provides DREAMers and families with indescribable relief but our fight to stop deportations will go on as long as the Administration continues senselessly deporting our family members in record numbers.  And we will continue pressuring Congress to finally pass immigration reform which includes a clear path to citizenship for us and all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.”