22-day vigil to defend DACA
The dedicated activists stand steps away from the White House, with signs calling on Congress and the Trump administration to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) programs. When passersby stop and sign their petition, the volunteers cheer and celebrate. They know they are raising awareness and increasing support for these two critical programs – and for hundreds of thousands of immigrants – that are in danger.
The advocates, including immigrant youth, faith leaders, and allies, are in front of the White House as part of a 22-day-long, round-the-clock vigil led by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and supported by the Franciscan Action Network, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (both CHN members), and many others. The DREAM Action: Our Youth, Our Future vigil started on August 15, the five-year anniversary of the DACA program, and will run until September 5, the deadline given to the Trump administration by 10 state attorneys general to end DACA.
As we noted in a recent post, nearly 800,000 people who came to the U.S. as children have gained temporary legal status through DACA, if they met certain criteria, such as having lived continuously in the U.S. since June of 2007. DACA has allowed young people to go to school, get a driver’s license, and work legally. These “dreamers” have lived most of their lives in the U.S. and are part of our communities. Similarly, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) has opened opportunities to more than 300,000 people who fled catastrophes and dangerous conditions in their home country, but it may not be renewed for some countries.
When I stopped by the vigil on Monday, I spoke with Jung Woo Kim, NAKASEC co-leader of the event. He said support from the public has been strong. He noted that a lot of people they talk with aren’t familiar with the issues surrounding DACA and TPS, but once they learn about them, they are supportive. He’s met people from all over, even places typically considered more conservative and less immigrant-friendly, who have signed their petition and been encouraging. More than 2,000 people came to the rally kicking off the vigil last week, and thousands have signed the petition. The advocates take strength from that.
They’re doing what they can to raise awareness, and you can too. Call the White House and your members of Congress and express your support for these programs. Learn more about the vigil and how you can get involved on the NAKASEC website. Follow and share the latest on the vigil via NAKASEC’s Twitter feed and Facebook page and by using #DreamAction17, #DefendDACA, #SaveTPS, and #HereToStay. If you’re in DC, stop by during their vigil and join in. If you do, you’ll meet some amazing activists, like those in the videos below, working to protect hundreds of thousands of fellow human beings.
— NAKASEC (@nakasec) August 21, 2017