by Sawyer Phillips
Signs in Spanish and English bobbed over the heads of DACA protestors in the early September humidity. “Undocumented and unafraid” and “Justicia y dignidad para los inmigrantes” (justice and dignity for immigrants) were just a few of the messages posted on banners. The emotion was thicker than the air. More than one hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the White House on Tuesday to protest President Trump’s decision to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
Now, not only protesters but also states are pushing back. In a recent article by NPR, several states are suing the President over what they claim is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The Trump Administration still stands by its decision, stating that DACA is unconstitutional because the immigration law should have been left to the power of the legislators. For now, the fate of the thousands of DREAMers is in the hands of Congress, which has a six-month window to make a call.
“We don’t have time to be afraid. We don’t have time to be sad. What we need is action.” said Angel Romero at the White House protest as he clutched a ‘Defend DREAMers’ sign. Romero and his friend Francisco Lasso are both DREAMers or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.President Barack Obama created this policy to allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a two-year renewable deferral from deportation and a work permit. After President Trump announced the repeal, Romero and Lasso joined other protesters outside of the White House to make their voices heard.
“[We have to put pressure on] Congress to make it actually law or maybe find an alternative” (referring to DACA), said Lasso.
Fernanda Herrera, a DREAMer and member of the Fair Immigration Reform Movementwas shocked by the announcement. “The announcement came out and then I spoke. I think there was a five-second window for me to feel the shock, you know?” Herrera says she will not be discouraged. “When I get back home, I’m going to get to work. [That means] joining up with my community, doing more marches, going out even louder and being even less afraid.”
However, not everyone at the protest has plans for large scale change, they’ll take a more one on one approach.
“Thursday I’m translating for someone’s citizenship test. So I’m going with her and helping her like pass so she can get citizenship so she can be protected in the United States,” said Zephyr Schott. She said although she may not be directly affected by the decision to repeal DACA, her community is still impacted.
As the protest transitioned into a march, chants began to rise from the demonstrators. Soon, one or two voices evolved into a robust declaration. “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” and “No DACA! No peace!” rang from the crowd.