President Joe Biden met with six recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at the White House, where the young people expressed the urgent need for permanent protections for all undocumented immigrants.
DACA recipient Maria Praeli said in a statement after the meeting that she was “enormously grateful” that Biden listened to their stories of how their families have “struggled with the broken immigration system.”
“We were able to be candid with the president,” Praeli said of herself and the other DACA recipients, often referred to as “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. as children.
They detailed how “painful” it is to have one’s immigration status “in limbo,” Praeli said, adding that the meeting with Biden “made even clearer the incredibly high stakes of permanently protecting immigrants from deportation.”
The White House said that the president “reiterated his support for Dreamers” and other “essential” immigrant workers and discussed the need for broader immigration reform.
Biden has been pushing several immigration bills in Congress: one to provide permanent resident status to Dreamers and others to provide a path to citizenship for farmworkers and other undocumented immigrants.
However, immigration reform efforts passed by the Democratic-led House face tough odds in the closely divided Senate.
After former President Donald Trump tried to end the Barack Obama-era DACA program, Dreamers were left unsure of their protections from deportation until the Supreme Court ruled that the program was wrongly ended, reinstating it.
DACA recipients have long been pushing for permanent protections not just for themselves and others brought to the U.S. as children but for all 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living in the country.
“It’s extremely painful to feel so American yet know that my future in this country is not secure,” Praeli, who is a government manager at the immigrant rights group Fwd.us, told MSNBC before the meeting.