National News

Demonstrators rally in Atlanta supporting immigrants brought to U.S. illegally as children

Posted September 4

— Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of Atlanta's Immigration Court Monday as a show of support for Georgians who will be affected by President Donald Trump's decision on whether to end DACA.

DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program that went into effect when then-President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2012. It allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

Critics of DACA have called it a blanket pardon for young illegal immigrants. They believe in the past five years it has encouraged more people to come into the country illegally.

Marisol Estrada, a recent graduate of Armstrong State University in Savannah, was among the demonstrators. She was born in Mexico, but moved to Savannah when she was five years old.

"I came here with my mom," said Estrada. "We crossed the border."

But Estrada doesn't consider herself Mexican.

"I'm a Georgia girl," she said.

Like many in Monday's crowd, Marisol is a recipient of DACA. The program has allowed her to get a driver's license and authorization to work, and it's kept her from worrying about being deported. But she said her situation could change if President Trump ends the program.

"It's scary," she said. "It's like picking up and going to a different country without knowing anybody there."

Still, she realizes there's another way besides DACA that she and others in the same situation can be protected.

"We know at any time the program could end because it is an executive order," Estrada said. "However Congress has the power to act. The DREAM Act has been introduced. And we're urging our senators to be sponsors to that, and hopefully people will call and we'll get a permanent solution to this problem."

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all