Students organize walk-out protest for Congress to create “clean” DACA bill

Nicole Malanga/PantherNow

Eljohn Macaranas/Contributing Writer

Concerned by congressional disagreements and roadblocks, some University students organized a protest on Thursday, Nov. 9 for a “clean” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals bill that would provide protections for the undocumented individuals without compromises.

After a walk-out from classes, students rallied outside of the Graham Center. Several students shared their personal connections to DACA as part of their argument for a passing a  “clean” DACA bill in Congress. The students marched to and from the Green Library, holding signs and chanting.

In September, Donald Trump’s administration announced it would rescind DACA– put in place by the Obama administration in 2012– in six months. The legislation targeted those who were brought into the U.S. as minors and had remained in the country illegally. Those eligible for DACA were able to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action on deportation.

Prior to the complete dissolution of the policy, the Trump administration called on Congress to decide the fate of the estimated undocumented 800,000 individuals, known as Dreamers, who had previously been protected by DACA.

However, the path to passing legislation that would legally protect DACA recipients has not been smooth. On Wednesday, Nov. 8, the House Freedom Caucus announced that the GOP has neared finalizing demands in order for a DACA bill to pass. One of which included the elimination of the diversity visa program. Previous demands had included increased border security and funding for a border wall.

Students gathered on the GC lawns chanted, “undocumented and unafraid.”

Dinora Orozco, a sophomore political science and international relations double major and Dreamer spoke to Student Media about her purpose in attending the demonstration.

“We’re here to pursue a dream to work harder and to [provide] for our parents, our siblings, to improve this country,” said Orozco.

Orozco was the first student to give her testimony to the group. She told the crowd of several dozen students about her dreams to become a lawyer who would advocate for the undocumented.

Orozco was born in Guatemala and after being brought to the United States at two years old, she was raised in Miami. If the DACA program were to be removed without an alternative, her legal status might be questioned.

“This is the country we call home, this is all we’ve ever known. I absolutely have no idea what Guatemala is like. I can’t imagine deportation,” Orozco said.

Orozco was not the only student taking to the University’s pavement. She was joined by Lorena Malavet, senior public relations major. Malavet, also a DACA recipient, was one of the students who helped organize Thursday’s events.

“We’re not going to be used as leverage to create any sort of wall,” Malavet said. “We’re all here for the same reason: to be successful and contribute [to society].”

Malavet urges those who might not be personally affected, but are concerned about DACA and its recipients to take action. She advises calling and emailing congressional representatives. Malavet believes every call counts and that representatives will act when they realize how many livelihoods are at stake.

“I want everyone who’s being affected by this to keep their head straight and to keep fighting. It’s not a matter of who has the more connections, everyone can do it and feel like they are contributing to this matter,” Malavet said. “Just keep fighting ‘cause we’re going to make it [the clean DACA bill] happen.”

Congress has until March 5, 2018 to craft a new DACA bill.


Featured image courtesy of Nicole Malanga/Panther Press

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