Washington, D.C. — Today is the ninth anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has granted more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at a young age a deferral of deportation and the ability to work lawfully. To mark the anniversary, Philip E. Wolgin, acting vice president for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Looking back over the past nine years, it is clear that DACA has been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people all across the country. The data clearly show that with DACA, recipients have been able to go back to school, get better and better-paying jobs, and start new businesses. In turn, they have been able to help their families and communities while helping support the American economy as a whole. Today, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are among the estimated 5 million essential workers who have risked their lives to protect the health and safety of all Americans.
But DACA remains only a temporary protection, and any day now, a Texas judge is set to rule on DACA, threatening the livelihoods of those protected under the program. Congress must put undocumented immigrants—including those with DACA and Dreamers writ large, Temporary Protected Status holders, essential workers, and their families—on a pathway to citizenship. Doing so would boost U.S. gross domestic product by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, create more than 400,000 new jobs, and raise wages for all workers. The nation cannot afford for Congress to wait any longer.
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