In the wake of Trump’s latest sledgehammer, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients and their many allies gathered on Tucson’s City Hall to demand action from Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Tucson City Council, local school boards and universities.
They told the hundred or so gathered that they have nothing left to lose, and they’re not going to rest until they have the same rights afforded to all Americans.
“We are undocumented and unafraid, and we’re not going back into the shadows,” said Jessica Rodriguez, a member of Living United for Change in Arizona, or LUCHA. “We are going to send a message. No racism will be allowed in this town.”
The Trump administration announced yesterday an end to an Obama-era policy that protected 800,000 young people from deportation, saying Congress has six months to come up with legislation to replace it.
As of March 6, thousands of people a week nationwide will lose their right to drive, work, study and leave their house without fear of deportation if Congress can't find a solution.
Activists are marching from De Anza Park to Tucson City Hall at 4 p.m. today in support of DACA.
Rodriguez addressed the crowd in Spanish and then switched to English. Thanks to DACA, she was able to buy her first car and drive without the fear of being deported. Thanks to DACA, she’s pursuing her educational goals and career goals.
“I have DACA,” she told the crowd. “And they’re not going to take that away from me.”
Edward Cott, from Lucha Unida de Padres y Estudiantes, or LUPE, said that Trump is a white nationalist, chauvinist and a racist who pardoned Joe Arpaio after the former sheriff was found in contempt of court for continuing racist policies during his long tenure in Maricopa County.
“How does Jeff Sessions talk about constitutionality when they’re breaking the Constitution left and right?” he said to the crowd. “In Tucson, we’re not going to allow this.”
Tucson’s immigrant community and their allies are no longer going to “settle for crumbs,” Cott said. They want civil rights and protection for their families as well.
Jesus Lucero’s parents brought him to the United States 16 years ago, when he was 2 years old. He’s visited Mexico twice as a child. When he applied for DACA, he was denied because of a technicality. He watched his younger brother and his friends get DACA. And at 18, college is not an option for him because he can’t afford the out-of-state tuition, which is more than double the cost of in-state tuition.
While DACA may have helped close to 1 million, there’s 10 million more who need that humanity—the chance for a life free of fear from deportation, he said.
“We all need to work together to have a better life for ourselves and for our children,” he said.
Pastor Alison Harrington, a leader in the Sanctuary Movement, said that those who are sitting in power are “manufacturing fear” and that “love casts out all fear.” She said we don’t need more walls around our homes and communities but to love and support one another.
“Today we redouble our efforts to create sanctuary everywhere,” she said. “That love will ignite a movement as we all work together.”
Public officials at the event included County Supervisors Richard Elías and Sharon Bronson and a representative from Congressman Raúl Grijalva’s office.
Elías said in an interview that as local officials, they have to act in support of DACA recipients. They need to be out on the street, passing resolutions, talking to public safety officials and advocating for real change because "that’s what we do in Tucson.”
March for DACA
• Where: Marching from De Anza Park, 1000 N. Stone Ave., to Tucson City Hall
• When: 4 p.m. today
If you have DACA:
• Renew your DACA before Oct. 5, 2016 if your DACA expires before March 5, 2017.
• Contact local advocacy groups for references to trusted legal counsel: LUCHA, LUPE, Mariposas Sin Fronteras and Scholarships A-Z.