Unstoppable Dreams is a youth advocacy campaign to protect the gains of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-introduced program to grant young undocumented students conditional legal status and work permits.
In its eight years of existence, DACA survived numerous lawsuits from Republicans and anti-immigrant groups. DACA faced its biggest challenge when the Trump administration took steps to end it. Trump’s executive order on Sept. 5, 2017, stopped new DACA applications and limited renewals.
Immigrant rights groups sued to overturn the order, and in November 2019, attorneys argued their case before the U.S. Supreme Court even as young people with DACA watched from the back of the room and waited on the courthouse steps.
The young people had also spent that year talking to legislators, and on June 4, 2019, the House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act, to give DACA holders and others with conditional status a path to citizenship. The measure awaits a hearing and vote in the Senate.
In June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled Trump’s executive order “arbitrary and capricious” and directed the government to begin accepting applications under the previous rules. Still, the administration resisted, ordering the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department (USCIS) to continue to refuse new applications and further limit renewals to one-year increments, down from the original two years of validity.
On December 5, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis directed USCIS to return to the original rules. Three days later, the agency began accepting new applications and deemed renewals valid for two years again.
People with DACA are our colleagues, neighbors, and essential workers across the nation. The nation is with us in our effort to find a way to help them assume their rightful place as citizens of this country in name as well as in deed.
To find out more about applying for or renewing your DACA, please visit our legal services page.