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DACA recipients call for action in Orlando

By Steven Lemongello, For Orlando Sentinel , On 06 March 2018, Read Original

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Six months after President Donald Trump ordered the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, young immigrants and their allies again called for permanent protections at a rally Monday in downtown Orlando.

DACA recipients from Central Florida, many of whom would not give their full names out of fear of retribution, told the crowd of about 50 people outside U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office they were angry and scared, as their future remained in doubt.

Monday had been the final day permits for the DACA program were to be extended by the administration, until a court decision ordered extensions to continue beyond the deadline.

The DACA program allowed certain young immigrants, brought to the country illegally by their parents when they were children, to be allowed to stay in the country if they registered and had no criminal backgrounds.

Since Trump ended the program, a bipartisan plan that would have created a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children failed to get the required 60 votes in the U.S. Senate.

“Six months ago, the administration said there would be a deal by this date,” said Ivan. “This date has come, and nothing has come yet. Once again, Congress has shown a lack of leadership.”

Anallely, from Orlando, led a chant announcing, “I am somebody. And I deserve full equality right here, right now.”

Rasha Mubarak, regional director of the Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations, said “we are tired of the lack of leadership, the lack of courage, the lack of American values.”

“We will continue to fight for the Dream Act,” Mubarak said. “Each passing day, thousands of immigrant youth lose the protections of DACA, and become vulnerable to Trump’s deportation machine.”

Trump on Monday blamed Democrats in a Tweet, writing, “It’s March 5th and the Democrats are nowhere to be found on DACA. Gave them 6 months, they just don’t care. Where are they? We are ready to make a deal!”

But Sister Ann Kendrick of the Hope Community Center, who helped organize the rally, blamed Trump and Congress, including Rubio, for the lack of any action.

“This country made a promise to these young people,” Kendrick said. “If they came forward, if they applied, if they paid a lot of money to apply, if they went to school, if they got a job, ultimately [there would be] a Dream Act.”

Kendrick said polls show even a majority of Republicans want there to be some solution that allows the youths to stay in the country.

Rubio’s office did not return a request for comment Monday, but said last month he supported provisions “to address young people brought illegally to this country through no fault of their own,” but did not want to expand the number of people eligible for protection until border security was tightened.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 407-418-5920 or @stevelemongello