DACA 10 years later: Tennessee immigrants say they're stuck in limbo

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 10:17:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Ten years ago, President Obama signed an executive order impacting hundreds of thousands of young people.

"Here in Tennessee we have 7,000 plus DACA recipients, and that is power. That is power in numbers, " said Luis Mata, policy coordinator with the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition.

Jazmin Ramirez, a Latinx organizer with the TIRRC, said being a DACA recipient has allowed her to work, have a driver's license, and go to college.

But she said the uncertainty of the program has meant living a life in limbo.

"It's exhausting having to live your life in two-year increments, having to renew and not knowing if you're renewal is gonna come in on time, or having to worry about how are you going to pay the $495 to USCIS to submit your application," Ramirez said.

Advocates and community leaders gathered to celebrate DACA recipients, but also call for a permanent solution.

"DACA was never what we urged for and it continues to be the case, 10 years later. We are wanting more than just temporary band-aid fixes," Mata said.

Throughout the years DACA has faced many battles. The most recent legal challenge barred new applicants from applying to the program. The Department of Justice appealed the decision and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to start oral arguments in July.

President Biden issued a statement today calling on Congress to pass legislation to protect DACA recipients.