ASU students rally in support of DACA

USEE held a rally to share DACA students' stories while the program's future is in question

ASU students gathered on Hayden Lawn in Tempe Tuesday night to show their support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as the Supreme Court meets to decide the program's fate. 

The “Still We Rise Rally," hosted by Undocumented Students for Education Equity at ASU, was scheduled to purposely coincide with the Supreme Court hearing arguments to show solidarity for people receiving DACA.

The court case will decide if President Donald Trump's decision to rescind the program in 2017 was unconstitutional. 

READ MORE: President Trump rescinds DACA program

Luis Zambrano, a junior studying journalism and a DACA recipient, said the ASU rally was planned to show support at their home campus while other members of USEE protested elsewhere. 

“We wanted to do something because a lot of our leadership is actually in Texas and in Washington (D.C.)," Zambrano said after the rally. "They're out there on the ground protesting, fighting for our rights. We decided to do something here at ASU to show that we're all over the place and make our voices heard on different fronts.”

During his speech to the crowd, Zambrano said DACA is not perfect, but it provides a sense of security for him and many others. 

“When I finally got the protections from DACA ... I enjoyed protections that other undocumented folks could not," he said. "I was forever grateful. I had my sense of security. Now that sense of security is being threatened.”

Zambrano said it's been hard to sleep while the future of DACA is uncertain, adding, “I feel like the world's out to get me. The DACA program has positively impacted my life — I cannot stress that enough. I wouldn't be here without it … I would have settled for a life of mediocrity.”

Osman Erives, a future ASU student, said that it is hard to tell what would happen if DACA is rescinded. 

"That's a heavy question ... DACA students are a huge part of everything — schools, economy; we're just a part of the community," Erives said. 

Erives said the goal for him and those attending similar rallies should not be to simply protect DACA, but to also push for further immigration reform. 

"We are not just trying to protect DACA for those recipients," Erives said. "We're trying to make sure that a more permanent and inclusive solution is brought up." 

READ MORE: The real cost of DACA: ASU DACA students face financial, emotional costs

Alexis Delgado Garcia, a freshman studying political science and psychology and club director for Living United for Change in Arizona, said the goal is to find a solution that leads to citizenship. 

"Yes DACA, but it's greater than DACA, right? It's something permanent," Garcia said. "With a clean DREAM Act specifically, we're able to get permanent solutions that doesn't just lead to your work permit or to your education permit — it leads to a citizenship."

Zambrano said he hopes they gained more support for the DACA and undocumented community after the rally and in the months before the Supreme Court reaches a decision. 

"I hope to gain allies because that's ultimately what will enact change at the end of the day," Zambrano said. "There are still many people ... who don't have that legal protection who are just as deserving, maybe even more than me, and they deserve to know that their future won't be upended."

Zambrano said that he hopes politicians realize the lives that are impacted by policy decisions on immigration. 

"I really wish that our representatives wouldn't politicize this because these are real people," Zambrano said. "We're not tools, we're not figures to be used to mobilize a group politically, we are people and we are in trouble and we need your help."

Clarification: The original photo for this story was changed at 5:57 p.m.


Reach the reporter at krquaran@asu.edu and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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