Immigrants, Supporters Blast DACA Decision at Angry Protests
Immigrants and supporters demonstrate during a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in front of the Trump International Hotel on Sept. 5, 2017 in Washington DC. Trump on Tuesday ended DACA for 800,000 people brought to the US illegally as minors, leaving their future in serious doubt and triggering a political firestorm. The so-called "Dreamers" now have between six months and just over two years until they become illegal US residents and subject to potential deportation.Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images
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Chanting slogans ("Up with education, down with deportation") and brandishing signs ("Defend Dreamers"), scores of activists on Tuesday afternoon marched from the White House to the Justice Department, where Attorney General Jeff Sessions hours earlier had blasted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Among the demonstrators in Washington, D.C., and vulnerable immigrants nationwide, the grim news about DACA — the program will likely die unless Congress comes up with a legislative fix in the next six months — provoked anger and anxiety.
"I'm scared because I don't know what will happen to me and my future," said Andrea A., 25, a Virginia nursing school student and DACA recipient who said she was too fearful of repercussions to have her last name published. "I don't know what's going to happen to me."
In New York City, the president's hometown, protesters holding signs with handwritten messages ("Save DACA") blocked traffic near Trump Tower, with some linking arms and chanting, "Whose streets? Our streets!" Police arrested 34 people, most for disorderly conduct, authorities said.
"We are a part of this country's fabric," DACA recipient Basi Alonso told NBC New York. "I have been here my entire life.
"I've been paying my taxes. I went to school here. My parents work here," said Alonso, who was reportedly arrested at the rally.
And students at several schools in Denver walked out of their classrooms in protest, and reports of similar walkouts in Arizona and New Mexico circulated on social media.
"I was surprised by the decision," said Evelyn Mijares, 15, a junior at West Leadership Academy in Denver who left class. "It's like, why have so much hate against Hispanic people?
"We're just trying to have an education ... It's sad," said Mijares, who is not a DACA recipient but whose father was recently deported.
Protests, rallies and other pro-DACA events are expected around the country on Tuesday evening — including in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Racine, Wisconsin; and across southern California, home to a massive immigrant population.