Rallying to Protect DACA

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By Monica Flores

The Trump administration has announced that it will rescind the DACA program which protects 800,000 young immigrants from deportation in the United States. DACA, also known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” was an executive order implemented by President Obama in 2012 that granted work permits and legal stay to undocumented immigrants that were brought to the U.S. as children. According to the White House, there is a six-month deadline for Congress to come up with a plan of action for DACA.

Following the announcement, immigrant rights group Movimiento Cosecha hosted a Defend DACA rally in front of Trump Tower at 5th Avenue, which consisted of “Dreamers,” students and supporters. Chants such as “Education not deportation!” echoed in the air, as the crowd stood in front of Trump’s headquarters.

The protesters walked in front of the Trump Tower with poster boards that expressed pro-immigrant sentiment such as “Defend DACA” and “Protect our Families.”

Jesus Hernandez, president of the Lehman College Dream Team, a student club that advocates immigrant rights, was at the front of the protest. “We have to remember that when we are united as a community, we are strongest thing in the world,” said Hernandez.

In diverse campuses such as those in CUNY, many students who are DACA recipients are left in the shadows, wondering whether Trump’s decisions will affect them.

“We are all afraid of what can happen to ourselves and our loved ones, but I won’t sit down, I’ll stand and not go down without a fight,” said Hernandez.

It was the first week of school for CUNY students, and while many are worried about buying books and settling into their classes, immigrant students are left wondering whether they’ll be getting deported.

“I saw this country as an opportunity to grow,” says Hostos Community College student Juan Castro, a Peruvian immigrant who arrived here when he was four.

“Seeing Donald Trump being openly xenophobic and claiming that he will deport all undocumented people really scares me,” said Castro. “I really thought this country was going to progress and accept everyone.”

Like the Lehman College Dream Team, there are other student-led Dream Teams at Hunter, BMCC, John Jay, and Queens College. They all plan on speaking with the administrations in their schools about how they can protect and provide resources for the students that are being targeted by the Trump administration.

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