In solidarity with DACA and its recipients, about 30 Los Angeles County residents gathered at Congressman Steve Knight’s (R-Palmdale) Santa Clarita office to call on him to support immigration reform after President Trump’s removal of the program.
DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, currently protects 222,795 residents in Los Angeles County, because they were brought to America when they were children, of the 900,000 who are thought to be undocumented.
Santa Clarita resident Maria Moram is a current DACA recipient. Trump’s decision to take away this protection angered her because she wants to stay in America for a better life.
“(Trump) is trying to end our dreams,” Moram said. “We’re going to continue fighting.”
With the support of other immigrants who have educational and career goals, Moram said the effort will get stronger.
Dressed in traditional Danza Mexica tribal attire, a San Fernando Valley family performed a dance at the protest to support immigrants.
“We are not here for entertainment, but we are here in solidarity,” Raul Herrera said. “Many immigrants came out, spoke up and are now at risk of being deported.”
There has been a long history of unjust immigration policies in America, according to Herrera, who is a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and fears the impact the decision will have on students.
“We are here to support the immigrant youth who have lost their chance for a future,” his daughter 13-year-old Deborha Tovaldo said.
Marian Vuong, who works in Santa Clarita and lives in Palmdale, has lived in America for 20 years after moving from Mexico. While she and her children are legal citizens, she empathizes with those who are trying to do the same.
She said if she or her children were in this situation, she would want to be advocated for as she is doing for others.
“They have the right to make a better life for themselves in this country,” Vuong said. “I know their dreams can be broken but they must stay strong.”
Council of Mexican Federations President Miguel Perez, a Palmdale resident, said he worries the decision to rescind DACA will push immigrant youth into the shadows or force them to leave America.
“I came to America undocumented 41 years ago and became a citizen,” Perez said. “I hope the same opportunity that was given to me will be given to these kids.”
Jackie Thomas, a Santa Clarita resident of 30 years, said she has friends and neighbors who are protected by DACA.
“It’s very personal,” Thomas said. “I am worried about this decision. I am making sure Steve Knight is reminded that this is inhumane.”