United We Dream and their allies are mobilizing to stage protests this week amid reports that President Donald Trump will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors to apply for work permits and shields them from deportation.
After Politico reported on Sunday evening that the president would announce a six-month delay before he terminates DACA protections for nearly 800,000 people, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was among many Trump critics who expressed outrage at the president’s plan.
United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-run organization in the country, quickly urged its social media followers to call their representatives, asking lawmakers to voice their support for the law, which a recent NBC/SurveyMonkey poll showed is supported by more than two-thirds of Americans.
The group is planning rallies in cities across the country this week, with events so far scheduled in Los Angeles, Seattle, at the White House, and other locations.
United We Dream was joined by other immigrant rights groups in denouncing Trump’s expected termination of DACA.
“DACA is a popular program that has led to the liberation of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Mehrdad Azemun of People’s Action Campaigns. “If Trump ends a program that has bipartisan support and has kept hundreds of thousands of families together, he will cement his reputation as a cruel and heartless president.”
Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law noted that Trump’s animosity towards DACA recipients further aligns him with the xenophobic white nationalist movement that he has refused to clearly denounce in recent weeks, following the Charlottesville white supremacist rally.
“Reversing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program renders undocumented people targets for unscrupulous employers, wage theft and other abuses in the workplace, and weakens the economic well-being of their families, including their citizen spouses, siblings and offspring,” said Clarke. “It is also a cruel example of how the current Administration’s advancement of policies that promote racial and ethnic profiling and xenophobia have further emboldened white nationalists, who have a history of contributing to a climate of fear and hate.”
The expected six-month delay before the termination goes into effect would give Congress an opportunity to act—but immigrant rights advocates fear Trump’s expected announcement will actually be meant to offer DACA as a bargaining chip to Congress as the president tries to secure funding and support for other controversial aspects of his immigration agenda, including the border wall.
Meanwhile, the death of Alonso Guillen, a DACA recipient who apparently drowned last week while trying to rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, offered a clear picture of the contributions of young immigrants who may soon be forced to leave the country or live in fear of immigration authorities, after growing up here and spending years living and working freely.
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