New York, Sep 6 (IANS) Police arrested about a dozen “DREAMers” and civil rights activists in New York on Tuesday during a protest that paralyzed Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower here.
This came after the administration’s announcement that it is eliminating the DACA program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation and has allowed them to work and drive legally, Efe news reported.
“Undocumented and unafraid!” shouted the group as it approached the building, which was guarded by police and Secret Service agents, given that it is where President Donald Trump lived until last January, when he moved into the White House.
Dressed in black pants and white t-shirts bearing the message “My job, my family”, the demonstrators staged a sit-in on Fifth Avenue and joined hands, blocking traffic for about 15 minutes to call the attention of passersby to their outrage and their demands.
Before the arrests were carried out, police were heard warning the protesters that they would be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct if they did not leave the area voluntarily.
One by one, police handcuffed the activists and DREAMers, as the some 800,000 undocumented foreigners who were brought to the US as young children are known.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was implemented via executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012, but the Trump administration eliminated the program — with a six-month grace period — on Tuesday.
The government’s decision will not enter into force until March 5, 2018, six months from Tuesday, during which time Congress, the only institution with the power to change the country’s immigration system, will have to find a solution to regularize the situation of young undocumented migrants.
New Yorkers who demonstrated their support for the protesters displayed signs and slogans saying that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are the ones who should be deported and “No fascists in our White House”.
Some 42,000 young people have benefited from the DACA program in New York.
Obama also created another program known as DAPA to benefit the parents of the young DREAMers, but it has already been eliminated by the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, more than 50 DREAMers and civil rights activists protesting the administration’s DACA cancellation gathered in Washington in front of the White House and promised to keep up the fight to demand that the government provide a solution for their irregular immigration situation.