DACA program recipients reflect on 10-year anniversary of the start of the program

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, was supposed to be a temporary solution for people, like Minhee Cho and Mateo Uribe Rios, who came to the U.S. with their parents when they were kids.

Uribe Rios came from Colombia, Cho from South Korea.

"We have been promised time and time again that there would be some sort of solution and it kind of feels like we have been kicked back to the back burner," Uribe Rios said.

Established by the Obama Administration in 2012, DACA was put in place to protect some immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.

RELATED: Biden administration's work to protect DACA program applauded by Chicago immigrants rights groups

Since 2012, more than 800,000 people have been granted DACA, allowing them to get a driver's license, social security number and work permit, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

"I was a sophomore in high school. I was kind of worried that I wasn't going to be able to get a part-time job or get a driver's license like the rest of my friends," Cho said.

Over the years, the program has faced many legislative and court challenges.

"It still feels like we are in limbo," Uribe Rios said.

RELATED: Living in limbo: DACA dreamers react to recent ruling

Cho said it makes it hard to plan for the future.

"I can't really look past one or two years at a time because I am just really unsure of what my life is going to look like," she said.

Cho volunteers with the HANA Center, an immigrant-focused organization. Uribe Rios is the program coordinator for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. In their roles, they're pushing lawmakers for a long-term fix. They want a pathway to citizenship.

"I think Congress needs to take action and stop using undocumented immigrants as pawns in their political games," Cho said.

RELATED: U.S. Supreme Court blocks Pres. Trump from ending DACA

That's why the 10-year anniversary of DACA comes with mixed emotions.

"Ten years it's been too long for a temporary solution and we need a full citizenship for all solutions," Uribe Rios said.
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