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DACA decision leads to protests in San Diego, across nation

by David Santillan and Jocelyn Moran

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San Diego State students and members of the San Diego community came together to protest the end of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals on Sept. 5, 2017 at the steps of the San Diego City and County Administration Building.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era program DACA on Tuesday, Sept. 5. in a press conference.

The decision prompted protests and rallies across the country, including San Diego, where San Diego State students protested for their rights and protection.

SDSU, being close to the Mexican border, houses a large population of Hispanic students, some of whom are under the umbrella of DACA.

Before the official White House announcement on Tuesday, public relations senior Hector Manuel Zermeño said he’d been feeling anxious all weekend, unsure what the end of the program would signify for his future.

“My biggest fear was, am I going to get deported before I can finish my degree,” he said.

In the announcement, Sessions explained there would be a six-month phasing out period, during which Congress is expected to draft a new plan. If Congress doesn’t come up with new legislation by March 2018, roughly 800,000 undocumented students and workers could be subject to deportation.

SDSU administrators sent out an email to ensure the SDSU community that they are committed to “providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students, faculty and staff.”

CSU Chancellor Timothy White issued a letter to the CSU community, in which he states  he was “deeply disappointed” by Trump’s decision to end DACA.

White said enrollment, tuition and financial aid for students will not be impacted by the end of DACA.

“Again, let me express my personal disappointment toward this action that will have such a profoundly negative impact on our nation, our state, our university and so many of our colleagues, students and friends,” the letter read.

Zermeño, who arrived to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 12, said that potentially being deported would mean starting over.

“I don’t know anything (about) being a functioning adult in that society,” Zermeño said.

SDSU College Republicans issued a statement shortly after the announcement expressing their support for Trump’s decision to end DACA.

“As a program that incentivizes illegal immigration to the United States and allows for an indefinite residence without documentation, we cannot stand idly by while our borders remain compromised,” the statement read.

Zermeño said he felt members of the College Republicans are ignorant as to what DACA really is.

“They don’t know who we are as people,” Zermeño said. “They need to get more educated to what we actually do and how we contribute to this society. We are not just here to take from the government. We are actually here to contribute to the country.”

During the rally, SDSU student Ana Hernandez spoke to the crowd, telling her personal experience with DACA.

“As an immigrant community, we have had a lot of victories, and ending DACA will not be a defeat but rather an opportunity to have our voices heard,” she said.

Community members, from various ethnic and racial backgrounds, were seen standing peacefully and holding signs while Hernandez spoke. She noted this when she said “look at all the beautiful people who came out to support us.”

SDSU social work junior Amaris Tenorio was one of the supporters who showed up to the rally.

Although Tenorio isn’t a DACA recipient, she is a member of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A), an organization that empowers Chicanx students through unity and political empowerment.

“Students that are DACA recipients deserve to live a life here freely, filled with happiness and education,” Tenorio said. “We’re not here to cause any harm, we’re here to live a better life.”

Hernandez ended her speech with a mantra for all undocumented students by saying, “stand strong, stay resilient, keep positive, and remember, (legal status) does not define us, DACA does not define us, Dream Act does not define us. We’re still undocumented and unapologetic.”

“We will overcome this fight in unity,” Hernandez said.

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1 Comment

One Response to “DACA decision leads to protests in San Diego, across nation”

  1. Ted W Bishop on September 6th, 2017 10:11 am

    DACA is not thrown out necessarily. Compromise in congress could bring a deal where DACA is given consideration for some issue that is stalled currently that the over side cares about.

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