On 10th Anniversary, DACA Future Remains Uncertain

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Wednesday marked 10 years of the Deferred Action of Child Arrivals program.

Known as DACA, the Obama-era policy allowed the children of undocumented immigrants to work or study without fear of deportation.

The move changed the lives of thousands of families, but a decade later its future remains uncertain.

Dressed in yellow with signs saying ‘DACA is not enough’ marchers in Washington D.C. walked toward Capitol Hill hoping to send a message.

“We are here to demand change because DACA is not enough and it was never enough. There’s many people that have been left out, including myself,” said 19-year-old Judith Briseno of Dallas.

There are close to 600,000 current recipients of DACA nationwide, while close to 100,000 call Texas home.

Emma Chalott is one.

“I came to this country when I was seven years old and Texas is my home,” Chalott said.

DACA allowed her to attend Austin College. She's now in her third year of law school.

“That was something that I always knew my parents wanted for me and that I wanted for myself. It was a big sacrifice for them to leave their country for me to achieve the education and the quality of education that I would not have had otherwise in my home country of Mexico,” Chalott said.

DACA protections are not permanent. Recipients must reapply every two years and not all are eligible.

When DACA began many supporters believed it would lay the path to permanent citizenship, but that hope has dwindled with inaction by lawmakers.

“I think the most frustrating part of all of this is that politicians for ten years have used these kids for what could have been meaningful immigration reform,” said local immigration attorney Fernando Dubove.

A Texas-Republican-led challenge to DACA awaits its fate in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, while new applicants are currently blocked from getting approval.

“If we don’t go out and ask and demand for change, it’s not going to happen,” said Briseno. “And that’s why we’re here. And we do hope. And you know, all we can do is be hopeful and continue to fight so that there is change.”

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