(all photos: The Nation Report)
Coverage of Longmont and Boulder below:
DENVER – By the thousands, students, parents, teachers, principles, and other allies walked out of school, marched to Metro State University in downtown Denver, and joined with other students, parents, teachers, principles, and other allies to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a policy enacted during the President Barack Obama administration.
The event was planned regardless of the morning announcement by US Attorney General Jeff Session that President Donald Trump would end DACA, a law providing deportation protections for children brought to the US as children and are living in the country without documentation.
From La Alma/Lincoln Park south of Metro State University, about 1000 high school students from such schools as North, East, Manual, and Montbello marched up Mariposa Street and met with students from Metro State University as well as the University of Colorado, Denver, and Colorado Community College. Unlike walkouts of earlier years where students were chastised, and even threatened, this event was supported by the Denver Police Department who accompanied the marchers, and Denver Public Schools who provided school buses to return students to classes after the event. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg spoke at Colorado’s state capitol in support of DACA and students who fall under the program.
President Obama who facilitated the program released a 3-page statement following the announcement criticizing Trump for his actions:
“Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”
LONGMONT – A long-active community in support of immigrant rights, and among a mayor who won a seat partially on an immigrant rights platform, Longmont turned out several hundred to resist President Donald Trump’s earlier announcement to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a program which protects young immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
Jessica Perez-Diaz, a DACA recipient told the crowd at the Longmont Civic Center, “We pay for our University. We pay taxes. We go to work. I love this country. I work hard for this country.” Perez-Diaz, a Certified Nurse Assistant went on to say that she works with the elderly and veterans who affirm to her that she offers services where others haven’t. Perez-Diaz also said that she resents being accused of taking jobs because at her place of employment, open positions are hard to fill, “I’m not taking anybody’s job. There’s always jobs open at my job. There are always people needed.”
On Tuesday the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a six-month window for current DACA recipients to renew and receive a continuation of benefits. Those who applied for DACA status or renewal will have their applications reviewed, but applications received after September 5 will not be reviewed. Those whose DACA benefits expire between September 5 and March 5, 2018 need to reapply within the next month (by October 5, 2017) in order to be considered for continued benefits as explained by University of Colorado Law School professor Violeta Chapin to the Longmont crowd, “If you have DACA, you have a very small window of time to reapply.”
In another act of urgency, Longmont singer and songwriter took the action with which he’s most familiar. He wrote a song and sent the crowd off to the tune of “Jesus Loves me” that he called, “Yes DACA Children.”