WASHINGTON, D.C. — Undocumented immigrants and advocates took to the White House on Tuesday, as the Trump administration announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program has granted temporary work authorization and deportation relief in two-year increments to roughly 800,000 people brought to the country as children.
During a brief press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescission of DACA. The administration will sunset the program soon, and has encouraged immigrants — whose employment authorization cards expire in March 2018 — to apply for a two-year renewal by October 5, 2017. In his speech, Sessions claimed DACA was a “unilateral executive amnesty” and said that the administration was giving enough time for Congress to act on permanent legislation.
Thousands of advocates and immigrants, including DACA recipients, held rallies on Tuesday to protest the Trump administration’s decision nationwide. Immigrants in New York City held a mass civil disobedience protest in the middle of the streets outside Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. In the nation’s capital, hundreds of people held signs, chanted slogans, and many relayed their stories of being undocumented outside the White House before marching almost one mile to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
“For 800,000 immigrant youth – including my younger brother – DACA is a pathway towards achieving dreams,” Christina Jimenez, the executive director at the advocacy group United We Dream, said in a statement. “With DACA, immigrant youth have gone to college, supported their families with good jobs and have strengthened their communities and the entire country.”
ThinkProgress reporters Esther Y. Lee and Amanda Gomez reported live from the White House and took photos of some of the best signs and posters from the protest: