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On 10-Year Anniversary, Colorado DACA Recipients Thankful For Program, Still Living In Limbo

DENVER (CBS4)- On June 15, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, hit its 10-year anniversary, and its impact on Colorado has been immense.

DACA allows undocumented immigrant youth who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain and work in the country without fear of deportation. It was implemented under the Obama administration in 2012. For the last 10 years, Fryda Faugier has been a DACA recipient living in Denver. She tells CBS4 the program served as an opportunity that's given her a sense of normalcy.

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(credit: CBS)

"I was able to be a high school student, I was able to get a driver's license," Faugier said. "And I also had a little bit of ease applying for colleges."

Faugier was able to go on and graduate from the University of Denver in 2018. She's now an administrator at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School.

"To be able to actually like work, and just go around my regular life, without worrying so much, about am I going to still be here tomorrow, right?" she said.

Since the program's inception 10 years ago, DACA has changed the lives of thousands across the state. According to data from Gov. Jared Polis' office, Colorado is home to over 14,000 recipients with a spending power of nearly $400 million, contributing over $800 million to our annual GDP.

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(credit: Fryda Faugier )

"Ten years of DACA has changed so many lives in our community, but essentially it's only a temporary solution," said Juandavid Garza, the legal services manager at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.

That's because DACA recipients are required to renew their status every two years. The program's also been used as a political pawn under different administrations.

"It's also left many people and community members in limbo for many years," said Garza. "But also created a sense of anxiety."

And that anxiety is shared by recipients like Faugier, for her the program is a double-edged sword, and while she's thankful for the opportunities it's helped her achieve, she lives with an uncertain future, and wants a pathway to citizenship.

"We need to actively be asking the Biden administration for that pathway that they promised," she said. "We can't let another years pass, before we get something done."

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(credit: CBS)

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition is having a DACA renewal workshop on July 16 that's open to the community. For more information call 720-282-9656 or email jd@coloradoimmigrant.org.

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