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DACA’s 11 Year Anniversary Reinforces Our Need For Permanent Solutions

June 15th marks 11 years since Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was implemented. Thousands of Nebraskans with DACA have built their lives here for decades, and continue to contribute to local communities as teachers, health care workers, community leaders, and parents. But DACA does not offer any sense of permanence, and longtime community members continue to live in uncertainty without a way to apply for residency or citizenship, fearing the program could be ended by the courts. 

DACA was created only after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act and several other positive immigration laws – 22 years ago! DACA was meant to be a temporary policy to give Congress time to pass permanent legislation. Yet, 11 years after it was implemented, there has been no congressional action, causing unnecessary harm to local families and whole communities.

We know that DACA is neither a permanent solution as a federal program, nor for Dreamers who have built homes and lives in local communities across the country. Community members with DACA are required to apply to renew their permit every two years, which only adds to the uncertainty of ongoing threats to end the program altogether. 

Despite lack of congressional action, Dreamer leaders and community allies have accomplished important positive community change. Community action surrounding a permanent solution for Nebraska family members, friends and neighbors began long before DACA became a reality.

DACA rally

Here’s a timeline of the important positive changes before and after DACA:

2001: Bipartisan DREAM Act first introduced in Congress – this was the first of many positive immigration laws introduced offering a process for community members brought to the US as children to apply for citizenship. 

2012: DACA Program begins – introduced as an executive action giving many longtime community members a 2 year permit protecting them from deportation. 

2015: Nebraska Legislature passes DACA driver’s license legislation with statewide support – Nebraska is the last state in the country to ensure community members with DACA can attain driver’s licenses

2016: Nebraska Legislature passes DACA professional license legislation

2017: Nebraska civic leaders and organizations support Dreamers after a federal announcement that DACA may end.

2019: Dream & Promise Act passes the House with Nebraska support from Congressman Bacon. – This bill would have created a long overdue process to apply for residency and eventual citizenship for Dreamers and longtime residents with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). A longtime need for Nebraska Dreamers and TPS residents. 

2021: Nebraska Dreamers and civic leaders celebrate House passage of Dream & Promise Act. But the bill was not voted on in the  U.S. Senate and so did not become law. 

2023: The Dream Act & Renewing Registry Bill were reintroduced, providing yet another opportunity for Congress to finally provide permanent solutions and a way for longtime community members to apply for residency and citizenship.


Hear from Nebraska community members with DACA and TPS about the need for positive immigration laws and a way to apply for citizenship: Check out Joseline, Cleofes, Diana, Meylin and Adilene’s stories

Take Action: Call Congress or Send an Email to share why you believe longtime Nebraska community members, like DACA recipients, need a process for permanent residency and citizenship here.

Nebraskans with DACA continue to grow and create positive change in our communities, but federal policy has not kept up. Dreamers and longtime community members continue to live in uncertainty and it’s time for positive immigration laws and full inclusion of longtime community members. 

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