WASHINGTON – Thousands of people took to the streets in cities around the US on Monday to criticize President Donald Trump and Congress for not finding a solution to regularize the immigration situation of almost 700,000 young undocumented migrants known as Dreamers within the six-month period established by the president back in September.
Last September, Trump announced that he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but he gave Congress until March 5 to find a solution for the thousands of undocumented young people who have been able to legally reside and work in the US thanks to DACA, implemented in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama.
That deadline, however, was suspended after several court decisions in recent months blocked Trump’s move to end DACA, at least temporarily.
“Congress has had six months to present a law and they’ve failed us. We’re here to tell them that we’re going to keep fighting for our rights as a community,” Victor Morales, a 24-year-old undocumented Mexican taking part in the demonstration in Washington on Monday and whose protection from deportation expires in a year, told EFE.
More than 300 people gathered in front of the Washington Monument and marched toward the Capitol, where several dozen demonstrators staged acts of civil disobedience and were arrested by police.
Thousands more people took to the streets in New York, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Houston and Orlando, Florida, among other cities.
Another of the Washington demonstrators, Milagros Chirinos, with the Human Rights Campaign, told EFE that hundreds of thousands of Dreamers want to obtain “permanent” residence in the US, “the only country they know,” and have the option to get US citizenship.
“We think that what Congress and the president have done is outrageous, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in limbo. It’s time for this to be resolved once and for all,” said Chirinos, who is from Peru.
Despite the fact that several proposals have been presented in the Senate to replace the DACA program, none of them has been able to garner more than the 60 voted needed for approval.
Trump demanded in January that any bill on the matter include funds for his much-touted wall along the US-Mexico border and reforms to the legal immigration system, requirements that Democratic lawmakers do not look kindly upon.
Specifically, Trump wants Congress to provide $25 billion in funding for the wall, cancel of the visa lottery system and implement a merit system to replace the current family reunification system.