Immigrants’ rights activists gathered in front of Rep. John Katko’s office today protesting the Trump administration’s planned repeal of DACA. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program provides protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, including an estimated 20,000 in Upstate New York. New York Immigration Coalition representative Meghan Maloney de Valdivar believes that DACA recipients must rely on the hard work and resourcefulness that got the order signed to begin with.
"They will continue to fight for themselves and for the rest of their families and the immigrant community. But we know under this administration that fight is going to be way harder than it was in the past. The possibility of many folks being deported and not being able to continue that fight is very real for many families and young people.”
Dozens chanted and held signs voicing disappointment with what they say is a lack of action against the repeal from Katko. Immigrants’ rights activist Aly Wane worries that if DACA recipients are up for deportation, no one in the immigrant community is safe.
“This is an attack on all immigrants. For all the talk about how this is about going after criminals, you could not get more exceptional folks than those in DACA. Many have multiple degrees, own their own homes, started their own businesses."
The action by the Trump administration might have some immigrants feeling unsure about how to express their frustration. Maloney de Valdivar it might depend on where they live.
"The amount of fear within the immigrant community is incredibly present at this moment. Where their status is very unclear, they do not want to be in a position where they're in public. That's not everyone; there are many we work with that have been out as undocumented before they got DACA."
The repeal of DACA was announced Tuesday morning by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who says the program will officially be rescinded in 6 months. Maloney de Valdivar says the DACA community will not accept anything less than full protection from deportation.
“We will not sacrifice young people for the rest of the 11 million immigrants. We will not accept a deal for billions of dollars for a border wall or enforcement in return for a semi-solution. We need Katko to step up and have a permanent solution for DACA members.”
After those 6 months, the government will no longer accept renewals of or applications for DACA protection.