WATCH: Hundreds Protest Trump’s DACA Phase-Out in DC, Across US
AFP 2017/ FREDERIC J. BROWN US02:41 06.09.2017(updated 04:03 06.09.2017) Get short URL
After US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, which allows undocumented immigrants who entered the US as minors to avoid deportation and acquire work permits, protests broke out in major cities across the US.
As thousands protested in cities like Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio and elsewhere, demonstrators in Washington, DC, joined in, blocking 16th Street NW for around half an hour before shifting to protest directly outside the White House.
The protesters chanted slogans such as “No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA!” and “Here to stay! Here to stay,” as they blocked the road during rush hour traffic. “Say it loud, say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here,” “This is how democracy looks like,” “Undocumented! Unafraid,” “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Donald Trump has got to go,” etc.
Several Spanish chants were also heard, including “Si, se puede,” (“Yes, it is possible,”) the slogan of famous civil rights activists Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, who campaigned for more rights for overwhelmingly Latino farm workers in the American Southwest.
The protest was organized by United We Dream, who describe themselves on their website as a “immigrant youth-led organization” who “organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.”
Sputnik spoke to Ricardo, a member of United We Dream, who identified himself as one of the main organizers of the demonstration. “This is a protest about justice, this is a protest about bringing fairness, and this is a protest about reminding the American people what’s the moral thing to do, which is keep DACA,” Ricardo said.
“We know Trump is a puppet, we know the real president is [US Attorney General] Jeff Sessions who made the decision to take the program away… our community is ready to mobilize, take the streets, as many times as required [to preserve DACA].”
When Sputnik asked Ricardo why he believed Trump and Sessions overturned DACA, he replied that the president and attorney general “are part of white supremacist groups, anti-immigrants that have been attacking our community for many many years… the reality is that Trump is a white supremacist racist, and if we’re not white we’re good enough.”
“That’s the real reason they’re getting rid of DACA. They want to build up a deportation machine for Americans, for all of us who are an integral part of their society.”
Sputnik also spoke to Heather Benno, an immigration attorney with the Esperanza Center and political activist with the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition. “At least 50 percent of [the Esperanza Center’s] clients have DACA or renewed DACA or come to us for DACA benefits nationwide,” she explained. “Approximately 800,000 people have received these benefits. I did the math this morning and someone [in the US because of DACA] could have actually lived in the United States since 1998.”
Sputnik asked if Benno believed there to be any chance of a challenge in the court’s to Trump’s canceling of the act, but she was skeptical. “There definitely is talk of challenging it in court depending on the specifics… I think based on the information we have now it’ll be very difficult to lodge legal challenges, but we’ll have to see how the administration applies the policy.”
Her reasoning was the same as to why legal challenges to DACA’s roll-out in 2012 on constitutional grounds all failed: “Immigration has always been under the presidency, it’s an executive part of this government. It has always been under the executive, it’s under the policing powers of the president to decide how to enforce immigration laws.” Thus, Obama was not overreaching his powers by signing the executive order — and Trump isn’t overreaching his by undoing it.