DACA recipients may have to wait to see positive changes to the program


Melanie Ramirez

DACA recipients must remain hopeful as they wait for more news on the status of the program.

Tania Ortiz, Opinion Editor

It has been almost two months since President Biden was inaugurated, and while there is still a long way to go, many Americans are waiting for the Biden administration to fulfill campaign promises.

Throughout his campaign and before his inauguration, President Biden expressed his commitment to preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program, which started under the Obama administration, protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation and provides them work permits. 

In the Trump era, DACA recipients were on edge, fearing that at any moment, the protections they had under DACA could be swept from under them.

Now, there is a sigh of relief because of the promises made by President Biden, and the fact that he signed an executive order on his first day which would establish an eight year plan to citizenship for DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants. These plans to improve and preserve the DACA program sound promising, but one can’t help but feel wary about how and when they will be accomplished.

At the moment, the main concern for the Biden administration is the pandemic, which means DACA is not a priority. Which then begs the question: when can DACA recipients expect to see any news on the program’s status?

The pressure is there, and it feels like a waiting game for so many people.

I have had conversations with friends and family members under DACA, who are hopeful that things will change for them and put their minds at ease under this administration. As an ally, I think that the Biden administration promises will happen within the next four years, but I don’t think we should expect them to be fulfilled anytime soon.

Part of the reason that I expect a delay is because there is not a physical bill we can examine yet, and it would be an extensive one since it would most likely include more details about immigration in general. 

Another aspect to look at is how difficult it would be to get the US Citizenship Act of 2021 because of the intense polarization in Congress and the Senate’s slim margin. As we’ve seen in the past few weeks, it took a lot of back-and-forth debates in both chambers of Congress — especially in the Senate — to pass the third COVID-19 relief bill.

 Now, imagine that with immigration and DACA legislation. There would be absolute chaos and even more days waiting in anticipation of the next move. President Biden can sign more executive orders that cover immigration policy, including DACA, but that can only go so far.

Subsequently, many people doubt that Biden will keep most of his promises. It’s hard not to be pessimistic when we’ve seen some of those promises like canceling student debt have fallen through or somewhat fulfilled, but not the way they were promised. 

The only thing that we can do right now is become an ally to DACA recipients and hope that we see an improvement on the current legislation so that DACA recipients can live without fearing  the opportunities they have been given aren’t taken away.

Tania Ortiz is the Opinion Editor for The Cougar Chronicle. She is a senior at CSUSM as a communication major. Tania plans to pursue a job in the media industry after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going on runs and spending time with friends.