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Students protest the decision to remove DACA

On Sept. 5, thousands of middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students walked out from their classrooms to protest the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival DACA program. At least eight separate marches from across Denver County convened on the Tivoli quad to hold a mass demonstration, and one school’s walk-out marched for six miles to attend the Auraria Campus event.

At its inception, DACA allowed undocumented students to legally defer standard deportation procedures for two years if they were currently under the age of 31, were younger than 16 when they arrived in the United States, and had no criminal history. DACA participants were granted visas that allowed them to work on a payroll and enroll in higher education. When the Auraria demonstration was coordinated, the dissolution of DACA was only rumored; Atty. General Jeff Sessions made the formal announcement while students gathered on the quad.

Protesters carried signs that read, “Education, not deportation,” “Defend DACA,” and
“Here to stay.”
Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) were present and distributed signs that said “Resist” and “Dissent is patriotic.

800,000 people are currently enrolled in the DACA program and will be eligible for deportation as soon as March. Many of those people were infants when their parents immigrated to the United States and have never seen their home country as an adult.

Dr. Raul Cardenas, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, was one member of CU Denver’s leadership to attend the demonstration. “I love anytime our students can be apart of something that expresses their first amendment rights,” Cardenas told the Sentry. “I love their engagement. There are lots of high schoolers here, but many of our own students are here as well. It’s a very important topic, and we’ve made statements as a university that promises to protect our DACA students.”

The four branches of the University of Colorado released a joint statement within minutes of Sessions’ announcement. “DACA students are valued and important members of the CU community,” the statement read. “We have engaged Colorado’s Congressional delegation to urge them to take action to allow DACA students to continue to study and work beyond March at the University of Colorado and at universities around the
country.”

Taylor Kirby
Taylor Kirby

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