Hundreds rally for DACA and labor rights in DTLA

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169714 full

Hundreds of people rallied Monday in downtown Los Angeles in support of an immigration program that protects young adults brought to the United States illegally as children.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump is expected to announce a policy change on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows 800,000 young, unauthorized immigrants to study, work and live legally in the country.

Trump faces an ultimatum from some attorney generals from conservative states: end the program or defend it in court.

During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to rescind DACA, but once he took office he acknowledged he was having a hard time following through.

“The DACA situation is a very difficult thing for me, as I love these kids,” he told ABC News in February.

Young immigrants could lose work permits and deportation protection if DACA is terminated.

DACA recipient Vlad Stoicescu-Ghica came to the U.S. from Romania with his single mother when he was 9. He’s since graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently a graduate student at Berkeley. He hopes he’ll have the chance to complete his degree.

If DACA ends, “I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done... just work and keep hoping for a better future,” he said.

https://twitter.com/priskaneely/status/904775929452412929

On the street in downtown Los Angeles Monday, hundreds of DACA recipients and supporters marched.

Amy, who asked that we only use her first name because of her immigration status, held a sign that said DACA saved my life.

"Before I had DACA, I was diagnosed with cancer and I wasn’t able to get medical treatment until after I got DACA," she said. "I was actually able to get a job that had health benefits and I was able to get the treatment I need and I’m still on the treatments."

She worries she may lose her job and her health benefits.

"It almost feels like I’m fighting for my life, almost quite literally, all over again," she said.

In her family of eight, Sandy is the only one who doesn’t have citizenship.
In her family of eight, Sandy is the only one who doesn’t have citizenship. Priska Neely

Sandy, who asked that we only use her first name because of her immigration status, also joined the march.

“I’m scared because I’ve been here since I was two months old and it’s terrifying to realize that I could be sent to a county I have no connection to,” she said.

In her family of eight, she’s the only one who doesn’t have citizenship.

The DACA march joined a labor march in downtown Los Angeles.

Sol Marquez works for the Department of the Rehabilitation and is a member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Local 721 - public service workers union).
Sol Marquez works for the Department of the Rehabilitation and is a member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Local 721 - public service workers union). Priska Neely/KPCC

Sol Marquez works for the California Department of the Rehabilitation and is a member of the Service Employees International Union.  She carried a sign saying "Union Members to Defend DACA.”

She’s glad the two efforts aligned today. 

“It’s an issue that’s very important to many of us. A lot of the people who do work and are unionized are undocumented or mixed status so this effects a lot of our families, a lot of our members so it goes two-fold," Marquez said. "Labor is very much involved in the undocumented struggle.” 

 

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