WASHINGTON (June 15, 2015) — Today marks the third anniversary of President Obama’s immigration relief program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
President Obama’s DACA program has saved the lives of many immigrants, including Asian American and Pacific Islanders, who have benefited from not only receiving deportation relief and the ability to obtain work authorization but in some cases also obtain a drivers’ license as well as to access health care, open a bank account and receive in-state college tuition.
“Today, we celebrate the success of DACA and recognize the young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who fought hard for this relief,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Their advocacy has helped so many immigrant families. It’s clear now, after three years, that DACA has been a success and I encourage all those who qualify to not be afraid and to apply.”
Reports on the DACA program show Asian immigrants are slow to seek immigration relief.
Even though approximately 100,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are eligible for DACA, only four percent have applied for the program. This could be because of the stigma within the Asian American community associated with being undocumented, as well as lack of education about what DACA is and how to apply.
Asian immigrants who have received DACA have come forward to share their journey and encourage others to apply. Read the stories of Asian DACA recipients Esther Yu-His Lee, Raymond Partolan, Yves Gomes and Fernando Espiritu.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. working to fight for civil and human rights and empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to participate in our democracy. Advancing Justice | AAJC is part of a national affiliation that also includes Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Chicago and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.