Outrage erupts over DACA change

After the administration announced DACA’s end, pro-immigrant protesters descended on Foley Square, where 12 were arrested, including Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, with “Defend DACA” banner, second from left, above. Photo by Q. Sakamaki

BY TEQUILA MINSKY | At 11 a.m. on Tues., Sept 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced — as anticipated — that the Trump administration would not renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which was introduced by former President Barack Obama’s executive order five years ago. Sessions said DACA would end in six months, giving Congress time to formally act.

DACA provides temporary legal status to vetted young adults who immigrated to the U.S. before age 16 with their undocumented parents and who are themselves undocumented. Referred to as “Dreamers,” the 800,000 individuals covered under DACA have been protected from deportation and issued work permits and Social Security numbers.

Protesting against the repeal of DACA in Foley Square on Tuesday. Photo by Tequila Minsky

Following the announcement, immigration advocates amassed on both sides of Fifth Ave. outside Trump Tower to protest. Thirty-four were arrested after sitting in the street and blocking traffic. In what might have been called unofficial complicity, the police then set up barricades to shepherd protestors across Fifth Ave., blocking traffic for an additional 15 minutes.

Early Tuesday evening, DACA supporters rallied in Lower Manhattan at Foley Square with local politicians and labor leaders, who vehemently assured the crowd they would fight this policy change and would offer assistance to immigrants.

A pro-DACA protester being arrested outside Trump Tower. Photo by Tequila Minsky

Following the rally, another civil-disobedience action occurred at the Brooklyn Bridge’s entrance, resulting in several other arrests, including of City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez. Thousands then marched on the pedestrian walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Trump tweeted later on Tuesday night, “I will revisit this issue!” if Congress is unable to pass legislation within six months to formalize DACA.

DACA supporters blocking traffic outside Trump Tower on Tuesday. Photo by Tequila Minsky