Local DACA supporters express concerns at rally
By Khalil Skerritt
Special to the Outlook
With the Integration Statue on Florida State University campus as the backdrop, supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act voiced their support for hundreds of thousands whose immigration status has been put in limbo by President Donald Trump.
Trump has been pushing to end the program that protects young people who were brought into the country illegally. In early September, he asked Congress to act before the program is phased out next year.
Neil Rambana, an immigration attorney, expresses a sense of empathy while addressing the crowd of students. He was especially concerned about the uncertainty the president’s move presents
Having no future policy in place will punish those who chose to “become gainfully employed and give back to the country by being legally allowed to live and work here,” Rambana said. He added that the situation will, “create anxiety, fear and a situation where people are inclined to sink back into the shadow.”
The event held last week was organized by FSU’s chapter of the National Organization of Women, Amnesty International, Student’s for Justice in Palestine, the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, and the FSU Black and Hispanic Student Unions.
U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services reported as recently as July 2016 that Florida has the fourth largest number of participants in the DACA program. In all the state is home to 80,000 of the nearly 800,000 in the program.
A large portion of the Florida participants live in North Florida.
“There are large populations of Hispanic communities throughout Quincy, just north of here, who are scared for themselves and their future,” said FSU law student Daniella Donoso, a student coordinator for the Center of the Advancement of Human Rights. “This is our home country… we are not a bargaining tool for political gain.”
A major reason that DACA participants who are up for renewal don’t do so is because they are afraid of being deported. In such cases, Rambana suggested that candidates and pro immigrants’ supporters contact their local state representative to discuss their plight.
“When an applicant entered into DACA, they were requesting that the Department of Homeland Security defer any immigration action against only them,” he said. “So yes, if the DHS want to exert the full effect of the law, they could use the information provided to round up all of these young people and deport them.”
However, Rambana assured the crowd that while time is getting short for companies, officials and residents to promote awareness on the issue that all is not lost.
“Everyone’s situation is different … they may be able to achieved an additional benefit that is not related to deferred action,” he said in prior to the protest gathering. “It’s not all doom and gloom.
“Although it is a very serious decision that was made by the executive branch, it does place this program into the laps of congress who it should have been since the beginning.”
March 5 next year is the deadline for full implementation of the repealing the DACA executive order that was signed by former president Barack Obama. With no protection or ratification of legislation comparable to the Dreamer’s Act, information of all DACA applicants and their dependents would be at the preference of the DHS.
Rambana has urged any immigrant working towards their future to stay the course.
“Continue your studies, do not give up your dream, keep fighting, keep pushing and keep demanding because you had no choice,” he said. “You came here, you are here, and you deserve a right to give back to the United States.”