It has been twelve transformative years since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was first announced, born out of the resilience and tireless efforts of the immigrant community. This program has been a beacon of hope, providing many with the essential protections from deportation and the ability to work in the United States through a work permit.

Despite the program’s significance, it’s crucial to recognize that DACA was never meant to be the end-all solution to the complex issues surrounding immigration. Instead, it was envisioned as a temporary measure, a bridge to more comprehensive legislative reform that would extend protections to all 11 million undocumented immigrants who call the United States home. Yet, the anticipated congressional action to solidify these protections has remained elusive, leaving a promise unfulfilled and millions in limbo.

The very survival of DACA amidst numerous legal challenges is a testament to the resilience of immigrant communities. However, the program’s inherent flaws cannot be overlooked. DACA’s temporary nature subjects recipients to a cycle of renewals, each accompanied by its own set of anxieties and uncertainties. The absence of a pathway to citizenship within DACA’s framework means that DACA recipients must continue to live with the fear that their status could change with the political winds, undermining their ability to plan for the future.

As we honor the 12th anniversary of DACA, we must also honor the indomitable spirit of its recipients. Their achievements and contributions to our communities underscore the urgent need for a permanent legislative solution that honors their dignity and recognizes their rightful place in this country.

The creation of DACA was a momentous achievement, a clear demonstration of what can be accomplished when a community unites for change. Now, it is our collective responsibility to build upon that foundation, to advocate for a fair and just immigration system that transcends the temporary fixes of the past.