#DefendDACA: Nationwide Rallies Demand Protection for Young Immigrants

Demonstrators marcked through Washington, D.C. and assembled in front of the White House, calling on Trump to protect young working immigrants. (Photo: Twitter)

#DefendDACA: Nationwide Rallies Demand Protection for Young Immigrants

The DACA program, which allows undocumented immigrants to work, is expected to add $230 billion to the GDP over the next decade

Immigrant rights advocates are staging protests in at least 40 cities across the country Tuesday, calling on lawmakers to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ahead of a fast-approaching deadline that could mean an end to the Obama-era law.

Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of DACA, which allows hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to receive work permits and live in the country without fear of deportation. After repeatedly threatening to round up undocumented immigrants during his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump announced in June that he would keep the DACA program for the time being. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, ten Republican-led states have threatened to sue Trump unless he ends the program by September 5.

Indivisible, United We Dream, and other advocacy groups planned protests to demand continued protection for young immigrants who work, pay taxes, and contribute to the economy.

In Washington, D.C., dozens of demonstrators marched down Pennsylvania Avenue despite rainy weather, chanting "Move, Trump, get out the way," and "All these racist politicians, we don't need them."

Demonstrations were planned in Austin, Texas at Paxton's office and in states with high populations of undocumented immigrants including California, Arizona, and New Jersey. Constituents showed up at the offices of Republican senators such as Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Susan Collins of Maine.

At Collins's office in Portland, Maine, a group of protesters urged the senator to defend young immigrants who are protected by DACA, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives.

"I think it's important to stand up for people who would be affected by [an end to DACA] especially with all the national hostility that's being directed at people of color and immigrants," said Clare DeSantis, one of Collins's constituents. "They contribute a lot to our community despite often getting very little in return."

Nearly 800,000 immigrants have been granted DACA status since the program was introduced by the Obama administration. The program is expected to add $230 billion to the GDP over the next decade due to the increased income tax revenue and other economic benefits it leads to, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress.

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