DACA defenders march in Merced

By JOHN MILLER
September 8, 2017

Emotions ran high during the “Merced Defends DACA” march as community organizers, residents, students, and current DREAMers came together at the corner of M Street and 16th Street on Tuesday.
The march was held in response to an announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be given a “an orderly, lawful wind down” as Congress finds a replacement for the Obama-era program.
Currently, there are some 600 students affected by DACA status at UC Merced.
DACA has allowed around 800,000 undocumented immigrants living in the United States, who were brought to the country illegally as children but are currently attending school or serving in the military, a temporary right to study, work and otherwise live in the country for a period of two years. Tuesday’s decision signals an end to the application process, with current “DREAMers” in the program being allowed to renew their DACA related paperwork if need be by Oct. 5
Those in the program can be deported should their paperwork expire, which will occur in March of 2018, unless Congress passes legislation that stipulates otherwise.
Some DREAMers who showed up at the rally told the Times that they chose to come to UC Merced based on the diversity they witnessed on campus, passing up offers from other schools including UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara.
“This area just made me feel like I fit in here,” one student said.
Another said, “DACA gives us the ability to have protected status so we can educate ourselves to sustain ourselves. We’re here to learn, and that includes working. Without DACA, we wouldn’t have simple things like Social Security numbers and so we wouldn’t be able to get the work experience we do, and overall it would really drain what we are able to contribute.”
Another added, “I just want to be able to work with people to contribute and give back to not just the communities here in California, but to the world as well.”


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