Under the banner #HereToFight, rallies took place across the nation on Monday to ramp up pressure on lawmakers to enact a permanent solution to protect Dreamers and insulate immigrant communities from further attack.
“We have to press harder to get an immigration law, we want a permanent solution and a path to citizenship,” 21-year old Alexandra Gonzalez said to AFP, as she marched in Washington, D.C.
Though March 5 was the deadline President Donald Trump had set for lawmakers to come up with a legislative solution for the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, court rulings have blocked that end date, giving some immigrant youth a temporary—yet shaky—reprieve.
Still, a call-to-action by the Women’s March and other immigrant rights advocates called Monday “the day that we say Enough is Enough. We will tell Trump and Congress that immigrant youth are not political pawns, they are humans and we are coming together to defend them and their families from this Administration’s deportation force.”
“Today,” the statement continued, “more than 20,000 immigrant youth have already lost our jobs and protections because of Trump’s decision to end DACA. After March 5th, the Trump mandated deadline to end DACA, over 1,000 more will begin losing protection every week.”
With such threats in mind, the various groups—including United We Dream, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights—hosted a march from the National Mall to congressional offices. As the Leadership Conference said on Twitter: “The more than 200 civil and human rights organizations that comprise our coalition stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Dreamers. Their fight is our fight. Their dreams are our dreams. Because, ultimately, their future is our future.”
Rallies in support of Dreamers stretched beyond the nation’s capitol. In Wisconsin, for example, Voces de la Frontera singled out Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan with a rally outside his office in Racine. The call-to-action states, “We need the clean Dream Act now, and Wisconsin’s own Congressman Paul Ryan has the power to bring that bill to the floor for a vote in Congress.”
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Other groups including the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) mobilized in New York outside Trump Tower to highlight the role the president has played in the crisis.
“Every day, our immigrant communities are under attack, and we cannot wait anymore. We demand Congress pass a clean DREAM Act, and stop funding Trump’s deportation machine. His budget demands for billions to pay for deportation agents, detention camps. Dreamers, like me, will march to show that the immigrant community is here to stay and here to fight,” said Stephanie Park, a community organizer at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Some demonstrators highlighted the fact that Dreamers’ uncertainty began well before Trump began tweeting from the @realpotus account.
“We have been fighting for this legislation for more than a decade,” said Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, at a rally at the Newark, N.J. campus of Rutgers University. “While Congress decides what they are going to do in Washington, D.C., we will continue to fight for what we can get here in New Jersey.”
Protesters with the Seed Project, meanwhile, took their action to the DNC headquarters, where they criticized Democrats for failing to take advantage of the months since Trump announced he wanted to end DACA to pass a “clean Deam Act.”
“The Democrats made the calculation to kick the can down the road and allow hundreds of thousands of us undocumented youth to live in uncertainty. We are anxious and we are scared of being torn away from their homes and our community,” said DACA recipient Maria Duarte.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), for her part, took to Twitter on Monday to highlight the stories of just a few of the roughly 700,000 DACA recipients:
The plight of Dreamers also also got a prime time shout out Sunday night by actors and immigrants Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani when they took the stage to present at the Oscars. Nanjiani—who joked, “I am from Pakistan and Iowa: two places that nobody in Hollywood can find on a map”—declared: “To all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.”
Hip hop artist Common also drew attention to DACA recipients during his performance at the awards show, saying, “On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell. A land where dreamers live and freedom dwells. Immigrants get the benefits, we put up monuments for the feminists.”