Colorado students vow resistance to Trump's DACA decision
Posted September 5
DENVER — Hundreds of high school and college students rallied all over Colorado to protest President Donald Trump's decision to roll back a program that would protect immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as minors.
Protesters converged on the Auraria campus of Metropolitan State University in Denver to hear speakers denounce the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, and demand that Congress act. Many held posters reading, "Accept my resistance and expect my resistance" and "No borders, no nations, no racists, no deportations."
The program has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants, including 17,000 in Colorado, a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits. The Trump administration said it was giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution before it stops renewing permits for people covered by the program.
Bianca Acosta, a 27-year-old Denver public schools teacher and DACA recipient, said this is her 13th year living in the U.S. alone. Her entire family is still living in Mexico, and she only occasionally talks to them on the phone.
She reflected about why she attended the protest. "I need this. I need the unity. When the whole country is telling us we don't belong here, I need this," Acosta said of the protest. She later added that she is gay and "there aren't that many other options" for safe places to live.
Paul Yumblo, a 25-year-old teacher and DACA recipient, said he first heard the program would be rolled back last Thursday, on his birthday.
DACA is the reason he received a full scholarship to study and teach in the U.S. after moving from Ecuador at age 19, he said.
"There's this sort of feeling of me being disposable. A feeling of being under attack. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to act. I'm just going to show up to work until I can't anymore," Yumblo said.
The protest took 72 hours to set up, said Nikole Melakusay, executive director of Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. Her organization was responsible for setting up protests in eight locations around Colorado on Tuesday.
"Their voices and stories are what's going to change hearts and move policy," she said of the DACA recipients and Dreamers present at the rally. "Many DACA can buy homes, vehicles, pay taxes, Social Security. All that money will go somewhere else, not back into our economy. It's just devastating."
Dozens of high school students in Boulder marched to the University of Colorado campus. Activists called for rallies in Longmont, Glenwood Springs and elsewhere.
Demonstrations were held nationwide, including outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, near the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix, and in Los Angeles and Miami.
In Denver, Venancio Noya's father has been facing deportation for seven years now. Noya said one day his mother got a call from an unknown number and it was his dad, saying he was thrown in jail by ICE.
To this day, his family has no idea how he was tracked down.
His mother hired a lawyer, bailed his father out, and plans to move the family back to Mexico if he is deported after his final court date in March.
Noya is the only DACA recipient in his family and is the reason his family left Mexico. He was born with Spina bifida and spent the first year of his life in the hospital.
"There's not many doctors that can help me there. There's not much to do. I just want to be here. This is my home," he said.
Ariadma Segura, 25, was scheduled to leave for Spain on Friday after she was allowed to attend an English teaching program there. Two days before she was to leave, she decided not to go because she didn't want to risk not being admitted back into the country.
"It really highlights what DACA is. It's a deferred life plan. It means I have to keep deferring my dreams because there's no program in place to give us a real opportunity to go where we want and work where we want," Segura said. "It was one more time I had to defer my life and give up my rights."