Rep. Gutiérrez Arrested At White House Rally On DACA Anniversary

Five years ago, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Yesterday, on its anniversary, thousands of people celebrated the security the program has given them. Others protested because there is fear that President Trump may shut it down.

Thousands of DACA supporters attended a rally Lafayette Park, in Washington D.C., which turned into a march to the White House.

People from all backgrounds traveled to D.C. to #DefendDaca, including a large group of Connecticut teens.

Gabriela Valdiglesias talked to NBC about how the DACA has helped her family. She has three siblings whom all have been able to attend college because of it.

“With that, they were able to get jobs, and since they’re all out from college, they can help support my dad for paying for their higher education,” Valdiglesias told NBC.

Since the program began on Aug. 15, 2012, an estimated “800,000 people have been granted DACA, a temporary benefit that must be renewed every two years.”

President Trump has gone back-and-forth about what he intends to do with the hundreds of thousands of people that are part of this program. The latest reports show that Trump may put an end to DACA.

Foreign Policy reports that the president was basically given an ultimatum by 10 attorneys general (all from Republican states) saying that if he doesn’t phase out DACA by Sept. 5, they will sue the administration.

That’s why yesterday’s DACA turned into a march to the White House.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, a longtime advocate of DACA, was one of those that led the march, demanding the protection of the program.

The Democrat representing the state of Illinois, along with Ben Jealous (former President of the NAACP and currently a candidate for the governor of Maryland) and other demonstrators, sat on the sidewalk in front of the White House.

Police officers asked the demonstrators to leave. When they didn’t abide, Gutierrez and other protesters were arrested.

This is not the first time Gutiérrez was arrested. In 2010 and 2011, Gutiérrez was arrested outside the White House before DACA was passed. At the time, Gutiérrez urged Obama to protect immigrant youth from deportation.

Gutiérrez was also arrested in Chicago at an ICE office this past March when he protested the deportation of DREAMers.

Upon his release yesterday, Gutiérrez released the following statement.

“While the President is coddling racist white supremacists because he is afraid to lose their votes, we took a stand today for justice. There is no doubt the American people stand with the young people who face deportation if Republicans kill DACA or fail to defend it in court.”

He went on to say:

“I am a citizen and know when I leave my house in the morning that I will return that night, but millions of immigrants leave for work or school each day unsure whether they will be arrested and detained. I gave up a few hours of my freedom to stand up for them…It is a shame and an embarrassment – es una vergüenza – the way this White House has turned on immigrants and fomented animosity towards immigrant families.”

READ: DACA Has Made It Possible For 800k Young People To Work Legally In America. Today People Fight To Protect It.

 

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