On Tenth Anniversary of DACA Program, Bennet Calls on Congress to Provide A Path to Citizenship for Dreamers

Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement on the 10th anniversary of President Barack Obama’s announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program:

“Dreamers have been active members of our communities for their entire lives — attending school, playing sports, paying taxes, and working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They came to this country as kids, and know no other home than the United States. But in the decade since the creation of DACA, our country’s broken immigration system has left them in the lurch. As we recognize this tenth anniversary, we must work to pass comprehensive immigration reform and keep our promise to Dreamers by offering them a pathway to citizenship.”


For over a decade, Bennet has worked with leaders throughout Colorado and the country to convene and promote a civil conversation around immigration that could inform lasting, comprehensive reform in Washington. Last month, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the cost of America’s broken immigration system for the nation and called for an end to partisan games and for comprehensive, bipartisan reform. Bennet has long supported offering a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, and continues to work with U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) on legislation to offer a pathway to legalization for farmworkers. 

Since cosponsoring the Dream Act in 2009, Bennet has supported offering a path to citizenship for individuals who were brought to the United States as children. When Congress failed to pass the Dream Act, Bennet urged then-President Barack Obama to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Throughout Obama’s presidency, Bennet fought for DACA, signing an amicus brief in support of Obama’s executive action to expand DACA in December 2015, and signing an amicus brief in support of Obama’s executive actions in the United States v. Texas case in 2016, which at the time blocked implementation of the president's expansion of DACA. 

As a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” Bennet drafted the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Act of 2013. The legislation earned an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate with 68 votes, but was not brought up for a vote in the House. The Gang of Eight bill would have modernized our visa system for legal immigrants and given 11 million undocumented immigrants a fair path to earn American citizenship. His work on the bill was informed by a Colorado-wide conversation on immigration he led that produced a set of principles called the Colorado Compact.  

In 2017, Bennet called on President Donald Trump to use his executive authority to protect DACA students. When Trump announced he would terminate DACA, Bennet demanded Congress work together to find a legislative solution on the Senate floor. That same year, Bennet co-sponsored the Dream Act of 2017 to offer Dreamers a pathway to earned citizenship and called for an extension of the DACA renewal deadline in the wake of three massive hurricanes that disrupted the lives of millions of Americans.

From November 2017 through February 2018, Bennet worked with a bipartisan group of senators, dubbed the “Gang of Six,” to draft legislation to protect DACA recipients as an addition to the FY18 omnibus legislation. In 2018, following court injunctions keeping DACA in place, Bennet pushed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite the processing of DACA renewal applications. 

In 2019, after the Supreme Court announced it would take up the question of the legality of Trump’s repeal of DACA, Bennet joined 172 current and former members of Congress in filing a bipartisan amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of DACA. 

In 2020, Bennet joined over 100 of his Congressional colleagues in pressing the Trump Administration on reports that DHS was preparing for mass deportations of DACA recipients.  

During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Bennet prioritized supporting DACA recipients by requesting a change to the Department of Education’s guidance on undocumented and DACA students, and automatic extensions of work reauthorization for DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients. He pressed President Trump to take executive action to extend work authorizations for DACA recipients, and led a group of his Senate colleagues in calling on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to allow DACA students to access emergency financial aid grant funding secured in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.