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Legal Status for Dreamers

is protected through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — but the administration is trying to end it


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Why It Matters

  • Since 2012, DACA gave deportation protections and work permits to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children (known as “Dreamers”) and who met other requirements.

  • As DACA was bringing these young people out of the shadows to start school, jobs and families, the Trump-Pence administration decided to end it  — leaving 800,000 immigration youth at risk of deportation.

  • What will happen to DACA recipients? The administration’s decision to end the program makes it harder for them and many young immigrants to access health care, and it puts their health in jeopardy.

Key Players

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. Attorney General (DOJ)

Resigned: 11-07-2018
William Barr

U.S. Attorney General (DOJ)

Nominated by Trump: 1-3-2019
Nikki Haley

Former Ambassador to the United Nations

Resigned: 10-9-2018

How We Got Here & Where We're Headed


    If DACA’s protections are not secured, undocumented immigrants will continue to live in fear and uncertainty
  • 2-24-2020
    Public charge rule goes into effect nationwide
  • 1-27-2020
    Supreme Court rules that the administration can use its new “public charge” standard while lawsuits against it go forward
  • 9-1-2019
    Supreme Court temporarily permits third-country rule, which denies most asylum claims at the Southern border
  • 8-21-2019
    Trump administration announced a final "family detention" rule that would allow the administration to detain children indefinitely
  • 8-12-2019
    Trump administration issues final “public charge” rule designed to stop immigrants from accessing public benefits to which they are legally entitled
  • 7-16-2019
    Rule issued that makes immigrants ineligible for U.S. asylum if they passed through Mexico — denying asylum to nearly all South American immigrants
  • 11-9-2018
    Trump announces a policy to severely
    restrict asylum for immigrants
  • 10-10-2018 
    Rule proposed to keep
    low-income immigrants from entering or staying in the U.S.
  • 9-7-2018
    family detention rule to let U.S. jail immigrant children indefinitely
View more +
  • 6-11-2018
    Jeff Sessions says immigrants fleeing
    domestic violence don’t qualify for asylum
  • 4-6-2018
    U.S. sharply increases
    separation of immigrant families at the border
  • 3-27-2018
    Administration says it plans to add a
    citizenship question to the 2020 Census
  • 12-18-2017
    Refugee office head says he
    interfered with undocumented women’s abortion access
  • 12-14-2017
    Administration starts detaining
    pregnant immigrants during legal proceedings
  • 10-10-2017
    ACLU sues ORR for blocking a detained undocumented woman’s
    access to abortion
  • 9-5-2017
    The administration announces it’s ending DACA




“DACA changed my life. I was able to get a license, get a [job] and apply for college... Now that it has been taken away, I do not know what my future and that of so many members of my community holds.”

What is DACA?

DACA protects undocumented immigrants who emigrated as children from getting deported. Nine in 10 Americans believe Dreamers should be allowed to stay in the United States. And yet, the Trump-Pence administration is trying to end DACA as part of its larger crackdown on immigration. 

We have yet to see whether Trump will end DACA, but the consequences of the administration’s attempts to end it are already happening. The crackdown on immigration puts young people’s lives in limbo and causes them to live under constant threat. That, in turn, causes far-reaching anxiety — which can hurt their whole families’ health and wellbeing.

Background on DACA

Young People Remain at Risk

Courts slowed the decision to end DACA, and the upcoming Supreme Court ruling will determine its future. In the meantime, recipients remain at risk of permanently losing their protections.

Calling Latin American Nations “Shithole Countries”

In a congressional DACA meeting in January 2018, Trump said the U.S. should welcome immigrants from Norway — whose citizens are mostly white — instead of "shithole countries" like Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.

Hip Latina
DACA Recipients Contribute to Society

DACA contributes to the economy: 97% of 16- to 35-year-old recipients work or are in school, and 8% of 25- to 35-year-old recipients started their own business.

Center for American Progress
What is the Dream Act, and Why is the Administration Blocking It?

The administration has repeatedly blocked attempts to pass the Dream Act because it would allow a pathway to citizenship without harsh border security or immigration enforcement provisions. The Dream Act is where the term “Dreamers” comes from.

New York Magazine
Existing Restrictions on DACA

Most states don’t allow DACA recipients to access public health benefits like Medicaid, so their only insurance option is often employer-sponsored — which depends on DACA work permits.

Latino USA
Will DACA End or Continue? Supreme Court to Decide.

The Supreme Court will hear a set of lawsuits challenging Trump's effort to end DACA next term. The ruling is expected to come during the heat of the 2020 campaign.


Related Issues

Detention of Pregnant Immigrants

Public Benefits for Immigrants

2020 Census

Separating Immigrant Families


Immigrant Access to Abortion

Pregnant Travelers

The Muslim Ban