defenders march in Merced
By JOHN MILLER
September 8, 2017
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.”