Southern California civil rights groups are preparing for Tuesday’s expected announcement from the Trump administration about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, with outraged protesters ready to gather at two local congressional district offices in the event of any announcement perceived as a threat to the program.
Known as DACA and introduced by former President Barack Obama in 2012, it allows people who were brought into the United States illegally as children to work and study in the country without fear of being deported.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said Monday that members were ready to gather — pending an official announcement from Trump or the White House — at the offices of Rep. Steven Knight in Santa Clarita and Rep. Mimi Walters in Irvine, as well as Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield.
— Dream Resource Ctr. (@Dream_RC) September 1, 2017
Trump has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, but until recently had not given a strong indication of whether he would keep DACA in place. However, Politico.com reports the president met with advisers Sunday to discuss how to formally end DACA, which affects an estimated 200,000 Californians. On Monday, many media sites were reporting that Trump might announce a six-month delay in any change to allow Congress to come up with an alternative.
On Friday, the president said he would announce a decision “sometime today or over the weekend.” White House officials later said the announcement would come Tuesday. The New York Times reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will make the announcement at 8 a.m. PT Tuesday.
Protesters gathered Monday in downtown Los Angeles, and Monday morning at Cesar E. Chavez and Grand avenues where they marched to continue a series of local demonstrations that began last week as word spread about Trump’s pending decision.
Asked over the weekend whether DACA recipients — generally known as DREAMers — should be worried, Trump responded, “We love the DREAMers. We love everybody. … We think the DREAMers are terrific.”
Monday evening, Trump sent out a vague tweet that simply said, “Big week coming up!”
Congressman Ted Lieu of Torrance is one of many elected officials of both parties who have criticized the president’s plans.
“I am outraged by the president’s foolish decision to end DACA,” Lieu said in a Sunday statement. “Our nation can never be great without embracing immigrants. Ending DACA is an unconscionable assault on thousands of young Americans who know no other home than the United States.”
California Sen. Kamala Harris called the possible decision “heartless.”
Rallying in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, local immigrants, elected officials and labor leaders called on the Trump to maintain the program that has helped an estimated 800,000 people avoid deportation.
“I’m here to say that the labor movement, the union movement stands side by side with our DACA young men and women,” said labor leaders Maria Elena Durazo. “… My message to Donald Trump is: Have a heart, show compassion. Have a backbone and show some courage. And have a brain and show some intelligence. Because you know what? We have all these reasons as to why the DACA program needs to be preserved and protected. He knows what those are.
“We don’t want 800,000 people who have been vetted, who have applied, who have given all of their information to the government to now have to go underground,” she said. “That’s what Donald Trump wants? I say no to that.”
CHIRLA, which organized Friday’s rally, held events every day last week in support of DACA, including a phone bank of people calling the White House in support of the program.
DACA is available to immigrants without criminal records who were brought to the country when they were younger than 16 years old. Work permits issued under DACA must be renewed every two years.
–City News Service
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