ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A crowd of protestors gathered in Albany on Tuesday to speak out against the president’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
The protest ended peacefully, but many people were willing to be arrested for the cause.
Dozens chanted and held signs while standing along North Pearl Street. But organizer Guillermo Maciel, of Cosecha Upstate New York, upped the ante. He asked all those willing to participate in civil disobedience to follow him into the streets and take a much bolder stand.
“The people are rising. No more compromising,” the crowd chanted.
They blocked the entrance to I-787 and garnered some anger from those heading home. But the group also gained some loud honks in support.
Those participating said diversity is what makes America great.
“I think it’s important to just stand up for the immigrant community,” John Lemelin, of Niskayuna, said. “For the young people and the people who have made this country great over the many, many generations to make sure that they know that we’re looking out for them.”
As Maciel yelled into his megaphone, memories of his struggles as a child of undocumented immigrants emerged.
“My parents came to the U.S. from Mexico without documents,” he said. “I, myself, was able to obtain citizenship because I was born here. When I was 12 years old, my father was deported, so my mother, who was also undocumented, we all lived with the fear day in and day out: is this the day that when I come home from school I’m not going to find my parents? And when I was 12, it happened, and it was heartbreaking. It tore our family apart, so right now, I know that feeling that little children are going through every night.”
Rev. Peter Cook, Exec. Dir. of the NYS Council of Churches, said he is also worried about young immigrants.
“It’s just an obscene, tragic act,” he said. “A sign of racism, a bow to white supremacy, and a denial of the humanity of 800,000 young people in this country.”
DACA began under President Barack Obama. It has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S.
The Donald Trump administration announced on Tuesday it is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program. It will also stop processing new applications.