By Cristina Samano-Romo
Protesters hold a banner that reads, “Our Dreams are not Illegal.” Photo courtesy of Cristina Samano-Romo
On September 7, dozens of people gathered at the Fountain View steps of University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) to protest Trump’s decision to overturn DACA, which will strip away the opportunity to remain in the U.S. from approximately 800,000 young people. The people marched through campus carrying signs that supported the protection of thousands of “dreamers” under this program. DACA, which stands for Deferred Action Childhood Arrival, was begun by the Obama administration in 2012 and provides support for people that were brought into the U.S. as children (before the age of 16) without proper documentation. DACA provides “dreamers” with administrative relief from deportation, a two-year work permit and the ability to acquire a driver’s license. The people under DACA had to meet strict requirements to be approved, including a clean criminal record with no conviction of any felonies, and either a high school degree or current enrollment in school. The majority of dreamers are enrolled in school and 91 percent of them have jobs. They have hopes and aspirations of building a life in the only country they’ve ever truly known.
The people protesting on UNCG’s campus marched with a unified purpose, shouting chants such as “D-A-C-A immigrants are here to stay” and holding signs high that read slogans such as “our dreams are not illegal” and “defend DACA destroy white supremacy.” The march came to a stop to allow individuals in the crowd to step up and voice their opinions on the issue. Among these individuals speaking was Laura Garduño García, a UNCG alumni and DACA recipient who urged people to speak up and contact their local representatives about the issue. She also encouraged them to attend city council meetings, and to voice their opinions where it matters most.
During her speech to the crowd, she spoke of the fears she has knowing DACA will be taken away. One of these fears includes not knowing what President Trump will choose to do with the information he now has on all these undocumented dreamers.
“I just don’t trust when Trump says ‘we are not going to do anything with the information’” said Garduño. “I have two children and I have mixed-status family, so if they come looking for me they will find the rest of my family. Then it won’t [only be] 800,000 people, it will be millions affected.”
The crowd cheered for those that spoke and those who raised their hands revealing themselves as DACA recipients. The energy of the protestors was passionate and strong. Anyone watching could tell they were outraged and ready to stand their ground and fight for the future of dreamers.