DACA Dreamers Find Support in CNY After Federal Announcement to End the Program

Sep 7, 2017

A protest in Utica drew dozens of people out int he rain to show support for DACA Dreamers, and opposition to the President's decision to end the program.
Credit CNYCIA.org

Just days after the announcement that the immigration rule that protected young people brought to the country illegally was rescinded, immigrants in Syracuse were finding support.  Mayor Stephanie Miner says she’s heard from a lot of people who support the city’s protective – and sanctuary – stance.

“Syracuse is a place that welcomes people who are note born in the United States.  Whether you’re coming here as a refugee, whether you’re coming here undocumented, or whether you’re coming here as a legal immigrant, we welcome you. It’s part of our history.  It’s what makes us a stronger, more vibrant city and we’re not going to shut the doors on them because of hatred and intolerance.”

Miner says nothing will change here, in terms of her administration directing police or other resources not to help federal immigration crackdowns. 

Meanwhile Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud reiterated his support for the DACA program.  He announced the school is helping with: immigration and legal support;  ways to help students with changes in immigration status to complete their degrees;  and counseling for those impacted. 

Supporters of those with DACA status in the Utica area say it’s become a time of fear for some of them.  Jennifer Kemp is with Indivisible Mohawk Valley, which along with Central New York Citizens in Action held a rally Tuesday.  People have been told to be ready to be deported.  Kemp says that’s impractical… and she disagrees with the negative characterizations of the immigrants known as dreamers.

“(they’re) generally in their 20s.  They’ve all graduated from high school, some of them are in college, some are working. But the overriding factor is they’re undocumented American people.  They’ve been born and raised here.  This is the culture they know.  This is the land that they’ve grown up in.  So to think about deporting these people, they say, back to their countries, it’s not back to these countries.   It’s to a foreign country.” 

Supports of the DACA program and undocumented immigrants pointed out the postivie impacts related to them.
Credit CNYCIA.org

She says there’s a lot of misinformation about DACA from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Utica Area Congress member Claudia Tenney that it’s leading to ongoing and dangerous immigration.

“You know, it couldn’t be further from the case.  There are very strict rules for people that might be eligible for DACA.  They had to come to the US before they were 16 and they had to have continuous residence in the US since 2007.  So to imply that this is creating an influx of people across the border is patently false.”

Kemp has little confidence Congress will resolve the issue.  She notes lawmakers failed to act for 16 years on the issue – which led to the Obama executive order.