On Tuesday President Trump officially canceled DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That’s the program that protects undocumented immigrants from deportation if they were brought here as children. As news spread at a rally in Miami for DACA recipients, the mood was defiant.
Under a hot noon sun at the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami – as a crowd chanted "Here to stay!" – immigrants’ rights activists and politicians called for protection of Dreamers. That's the nickname for the almost 900,000 DACA recipients, undocumented immigrants who came to this country younger than age 16.
They had been on a path to legalized status in this country. Now they face deportation after Trump nullified the DACA policy of his predecessor, former President Obama, calling it unconstitutional.
“This president’s action turns essentially Americans in this country, in a matter of months, into fugitives," said Maria Rodriguez, who heads the Florida Immigrant Coalition and led the Miami rally. "It turns them back into the shadows."
But many Dreamers at the rally pointed to the six-month period Trump gave Congress to find a legislative solution to their plight.
"Yes, it's very difficult, it's very painful, it's very nerve-wracking," said Maria Angelica Ramirez, who came to the U.S. 16 years ago, at the age 14, from Colombia. “But at the same time, I think that this is only an opportunity to do something better, to do something bigger. And we’re going to keep fighting. They’re going to hear from us every single day – we’re going to annoy them until they do what is right for our communities.”
The rally also called for a congressional fix to the Temporary Protected Status program for immigrants or TPS. Trump is ending TPS next year for Haitians.