Immigrant Heritage Month 2015: Celebrating the Importance of DACA and DAPA

By Julia Burzynski, a Summer 2015 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

During the month of June, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights partnered with the Immigrant Heritage Month Campaign to celebrate and commemorate the history and lives of the diverse immigrant groups and people who together comprise our unique American narrative. As we close out the month of June and Immigrant Heritage Month, it is essential to reflect on the importance of programs that have benefited the lives of millions of immigrants, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Issued by President Obama in 2012, DACA allowed for up to 1.2 million eligible undocumented immigrants to emerge from the shadows and participate openly in their communities. By granting eligible people a two-year work visa and social security number, DACA opens up a wide range of education and job opportunities that were previously out of reach, allowing for countless individuals to live, work, and thrive in this country without fear of persecution. As we celebrate DACA’s three-year anniversary, we reflect on the positive impact it has already had on thousands of undocumented individuals.


In November 2014, President Obama issued executive actions that expanded DACA and established Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would protect millions of undocumented parents from the threat of deportation. DAPA and the expanded DACA program will have a huge, positive effect on the four million individuals who stand to benefit from them. As of now, 15 states, more than 180 members of Congress, and dozens of city officials have all publicly filed their support for DAPA at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. DACA and DAPA are important not just for our country’s immigrants, but for all Americans who support human rights, basic fairness, and common sense.

As the month of June comes to an end, our celebration of immigrant heritage is far from over. It is imperative that we continue to defend against attempts in the courts and in Congress to dismantle DAPA and DACA to ensure that millions of immigrants who already have or would benefit from these programs are able to build a better life for themselves and for their families.