Justice

How Dreamers are Responding To Trump's DACA Action

Within hours of the Trump administration's announcement that it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, organizers staged multiple rallies in Los Angeles and around the country to defend the policy, which grants renewable work permits to undocumented youth brought to the U.S. as children.

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Outside of the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles, a group of DACA recipients—who are also referred to as Dreamers—shared their stories and laid out next steps to resist the White House action. Some cried as they spoke—but insisted theirs were tears of anger and resolve, not defeat.

Three themes emerged during interviews with Dreamers at the event: 1) They felt used, as bargaining chips in a callous gamble to win funding for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall; 2) They called the president 'cowardly' for having Attorney General Jeff Sessions deliver the announcement, rather than answer to critics himself; 3) They remained hopeful that Congress would pass legislation that offered a more permanent solution for children of undocumented immigrants, but also recognized that public pressure was imperative to achieve that end.

ATTN: spoke to five of the more than 800,000 Dreamers living in the U.S.—a group that would be vulnerable to deportation if Congress doesn't act within six months.

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Melody, statewide organizer at the California Dream Network.

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Today's decision is a dark, shameful, cowardly, horrifying day in American history, where the dreams of so many people like myself are being decided on without taking into consideration the human aspect and without understanding that no human being is illegal.

Luis, student at the University of California, Irvine.

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We're not criminals. We are students, we are parents and teachers, we're professionals, and we're not here to make anybody's life harder. We're here for a better life.

Christian Torres, organizer at UNITE HERE!

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We come to work every day [and] do our jobs. We are the ones that make your food. We are the ones who wash your plate. It's not fair. You can't just throw us away like they're doing with DACA.

Diana, immigration reform advocate.

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We're not giving up. We're going to continue with our dreams—with our plans that we had. Now I have a six-month-old daughter. It's nothing going back. It's all moving forward.

Iván Ceja, co-founder and executive director at Undocumedia.

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DACA might have an expiration date, but the immigrant spirit and our power doesn't.

After a couple hours, the group of Dreamers and allies dispersed—only to be confronted by about five anti-immigrant Trump supporters shouting inflammatory comments from across the street.

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To Melody, their presence was motivating and reflected the size and strength of the immigrant community.

"We are not going to give up. We will not quit. We will come back. And we are somebody—with or without DACA," she said.