Kalamazoo Rally Supports "Dreamers"

Sep 5, 2017

Supporters of the DACA program gather in Kalamazoo's Bronson Park Tuesday
Credit Chris Killian / WMUK

Opponents of President Donald Trump's plan to phase out the DACA program rallied Tuesday evening in Kalamazoo's Bronson Park. DACA allows undocumented people who came to the U-S as children to stay. The White House says it's ending the program but will wait six months to give Congress time to decide if it should continue.

Jen Strebs of the group ProKzoo helped organize the Kalamazoo rally. She says the decision to end the program is grossly unfair.

"These are hardworking families, good honest people, who have come here to just make a life. So, now we have students (and) workers who have tried to put down safe roots in their communities, that now have all of that thrown into jeopardy. They're living in fear day-to-day, not knowing what will happen in their future. And that's a call that this community needs to stand up and say it's unacceptable, it's not right, and it's time for all of us to act."

Nelly Fuentes of ProKzoo also helped organize the rally. She says the Latino community in Kalamazoo takes the Trump administration's move to end the immigration program personally.

"My community's not surprised. My community is outraged. We are definitely not going to let this happen anymore. Organizing people is what we need to do. Organizing each other, having the community stand for community, is what's going to give us the win."

After the rally, some protestors briefly blocked traffic at the intersection of West Michigan Avenue and North Westnedge. Several were arrested after a ten-minute warning by Public Safety officers to leave expired.

The DACA program started under former president Barack Obama. Trump's decision to end it has also drawn fire from some Republicans and many civil rights groups.

The White House says it wants to give Congress time to decide what future the program will have, if any.

The Washington Post says a threatened lawsuit by Texas and some other states prompted the decision Tuesday. That was the deadline they set for a ruling ending DACA, which stands for "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."