NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — DACA supporters gathered outside the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday morning urging the court to let undocumented immigrants who came to America as children to stay here.
The policy protects undocumented children who enter the United States unlawfully as children.
The federal judges in New Orleans held a hearing considering a Texas ruling that declared DACA illegal. No decision was made on the future of it on Wednesday.
After the hearing, protestors chanted and drummed down the streets of New Orleans. Many had signs in hand showcasing several different languages.
Nearly 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. About 600,000 of them are DACA recipients.
Woojung “Diana” Park is one of them.
“Our community members live in fear every day of being deported and if DACA is deemed illegal, then it could pose a greater risk for our community members. we are tired of living in the dark,” she said. “We want things to change.”
Protestors are also calling for permanent protection for all immigrants be created this year.
“DACA has shown us that a temporary solution is not enough,” said Michelle Liang, a supporter.
Many of those who protested say this is the only country they’ve ever known.
“They live here, they work here, they own businesses here, they’re medical professionals, they’re employees, they’re family members, they’re parents,” said one man from New Jersey.
Others fear what could be the end of DACA.
“If DACA dies a lot of the dreams of our youth die also,” said DACA supporter Leticia Casildo.
Chanting and drumming could be heard from blocks away. Protestors had signs in hand showcasing several different languages calling for what they believe is justice.
“I am sick and tired of their cowardly excuses. Every single day the Biden administration and Congress fail to act is another day our community members have to live in fear. We demand nothing short of a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, including those with histories of incarceration,” said DACA recipient, intervenor-defendant in the case, and co-director with the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), Jung Woo Kim.
Another DACA recipient said that she is hopeful. “Today, we are in New Orleans to once again raise our voices because we know that DACA is right. The DACA program has opened many doors for me and has provided me with relief to remain together with my family and community. We are hopeful that the court sees how DACA changed this country and transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Nevertheless, no matter what the court decides the fight is not over. We urge President Biden and Congress to act swiftly to protect the 11 million undocumented immigrants across the country and pass a pathway to citizenship.”
The DACA program was enacted by an executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012, which granted temporary work permits and safety from deportation for hundreds of thousands of young people who arrived in the United States before June 15, 2007.