Dreamers in S.A. respond to DACA termination

San Antonio DACA recipients and supporters gathered Sept. 5 at the Federal Courthouse to protest the announcement of the end of the program. (Photo, Ximena Ramirez)

On Sep. 5, President Donald Trump announced through Attorney General Jeff Sessions that his administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The fate of DACA is now in the responsibility of congress that must to formulate a solution to the program or let it die.

Within hours of the announcement, dozens of DACA recipients, supporters, and political allies rallied at the San Antonio federal courthouse. They chanted in agony and told personal anecdotes of how this decision will leave their futures in limbo.

“In third grade my teacher made us all write down our biggest fear on a piece of paper. While my peers wrote down “the dark” or “heights” I wrote down “ICE” coming into my home to deport my family.  Gabriela Mugiria Diaz, a DACA recipient said.

The Courthouse, a symbol of immigrant advocacy in Texas, recently celebrated a victory. On August 30th a day before SB4 came into effect, Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando temporarily blocked Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), legislation designed to crack down on “sanctuary Garcia cities”  at this location. It was a victory for people who feared the bill would prevent immigrants from reporting crime and promoted racial profiling. This time around, there was only sadness.

“We’re talking about human beings here,” State Representative Diego Bernal said. “It’s not the policies, it cannot be captured in a graph and it cannot be reduced to numbers, this is about people and what kind of life they deserve and what we as a country will do for them.”

Other politicians in attendance included District 4 Councilman Rey Saldana Former U.S. Representative Pete Gallego and State Representatives Tomas Uresti.

Dreamers and supporters began with a short silence for deceased DACA recipient Alonso Guillen who died in the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey while attempting to rescue his friends. Some held posters of protest. Others chanted. The peaceful protest showed that there is a slew of support for DACA.

The event was organized by Bexar County Young Democrats. Their President Gabrien Gregory spent two days creating a crowd and texting public officials. Gabriel is an American citizen  who candidly says he will never understand what it  feels like to be a dreamer however, he refuses to tolerate discriminating politics. Members of the Black Lives Matter and RACIES also showed their support at the event.

DACA was signed into effect 2012 by the Obama Administration, but was never made into law. The act granted 800,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as children illegally a protection for deportation. Under DACA, children received a social security number, and a two year work and driving permit.

“We need to remember DACA was won not by politicians but by the people and we must continue to fight for it,” Jonathan Ryan, Executive Director of RAICES, said.