Shouting “This is our home,” two hundred young “dreamers” and pro-immigration activists began a 230-mile, 18-day march this Saturday from New York to Washington, where on November 12 a decisive trial will begin on the DACA program, which avoids deportations.
In a park south of Manhattan and with the Statue of Liberty in the background, civil organizations and political officials, including state attorney general Letitia James, offered their support to these “walkers,” who will not stop until they reach the stairs of the Supreme Court and vindicate the rights of the country’s immigrants.
On that day, the Supreme Court will hear the arguments of the defenders of DACA (Deferred Action for Those Arriving in Childhood), created in 2012 by executive order of then-President Barack Obama, against those of the current Donald Trump Administration, which announced its intention to rescind it in 2017.
Once the arguments are heard, the country’s highest court will decide in the first half of 2020 whether or not Trump has the power to end the DACA, which protects from deportation and allows its beneficiaries, more than 700,000 young people who came to the United States as children, to work legally.
One of the organizers of the march is Mexican Martin Batalla Vidal, who two years ago sued Trump in federal court in New York to fight the termination of the DACA and gave rise to a case that was joined by other beneficiaries like him and the NGO Make The Road, of which he is a member.
In statements to Efe, Batalla, 28, stated that he wants to “be the voice” not only of the beneficiaries of DACA, but also of TPS (Temporary Protected Status), which has been eliminated for several countries and affects some 300,000 people, as well as “for the eleven million undocumented immigrants who do not have immigration relief”.
“A paper does not define who we are, we have been here since we were children. We are Americans at heart, this is our home and we are not going to leave,” said the young man, who never thought that the case would “go to this extreme” and thanked the support of the “community behind us.
“I decided to sue because DACA gave me the courage to say who I was. Before, I was very afraid to say that I was gay and undocumented for fear of being deported, of being separated from my family,” recalled Batalla, a nursing assistant who attributes to this program the “opportunity” to study and be useful to society.
The departure of the march took place in a family atmosphere and amidst the demands of the groups present, such as the Korean National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), whose leader, Esther Jeon, co-organizer of the march, urged a greater mobilization of society.
“Organizing works and that’s why we do it. It was the power of the people that gave us the DACA in 2012. We didn’t win because of the generosity of the Obama Administration, but because (…) other undocumented youth activists before us fought for our collective liberation,” Jeon said.
“Our collective liberation requires more than renewing the protections against deportation for two years (…) Justice for our communities is to demilitarize borders, abolish ICE (immigration authority), close the concentration camps that the government funds each year, and achieve citizenship for eleven million undocumented people,” he stressed.
The demonstrators, who will march under the slogan “Home is here,” encouraged people to join the cause upon their arrival in Washington or on social networks, where New York Attorney James said she will defend the DACA in the Supreme Court.