We’ve all heard of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but how was it established? What is currently going on with the policy?
Lawyer, University of Idaho alumnus and DACA recipient Luis Cortes Romero provided answers during a keynote awareness event last week.
Cortes Romero is a partner at Immigrant Advocacy and Litigation Center in Seattle where he practices immigration law and advocates human rights.
“There is one really important thing that happened with the DREAM Act,” Cortes Romero said. “It put a name to a certain population of the immigrant community, the people who were brought over as kids and were raised in the U.S., Dreamers.”
According to Cortes Romero, the DREAM Act gave migrants a sense of identity and purpose.
Back in 2001, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act was proposed, but never passed the Senate. It would’ve granted undocumented immigrant students’ temporary legal status.
Fast forward to 2005, and student groups began to utilize activism to gain momentum, eventually forming the largest youth-led community, United We Dream.
In 2008, former U.S. President Barack Obama ran a campaign promoting immigration reform. Near the end of Obama’s first term, the public become aware of reports that his administration was deporting more immigrants than any other president in the history of the country, according to Cortes Romero.
People no longer bought Obama’s pro-immigrant rhetoric. Dreamers and immigration activists began referring to Obama as “Deporter-in- Chief” and staged protests outside his headquarters.
Later in 2012, Obama announced new immigration policy, DACA, which would protect young, undocumented immigrants from deportation.