As the news that President Donald Trump had chosen to end the President Barack Obama-era Dreamer's program, which protects those who had been brought to the United States illegally as children, approximately 100 protesters sat with arms linked in the street outside Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Hundreds more rallied in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. and shut down Pennsylvania Avenue as they marched toward the Trump International Hotel in support of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) .
Protesters now shutting down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to Trump Hotel pic.twitter.com/iySVLQHcyC— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) September 5, 2017
Protesters sitting down in intersection on Pennsylvania Ave in front of Department of Justice: "Si se puede" pic.twitter.com/DSpYqqq7X7— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) September 5, 2017
New York Daily News reported that police arrested at least 12 demonstrators for blocking traffic in front of Trump Tower. However, some drivers weren't bothered at all by the delay.
"I don't mind," truck driver Stephen Ferreira told reporters. "I support them."
The remaining protesters continued to chant "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "We are human beings, our dreams are all equal, protect dignity and all of our people!"
"When I got my DACA, I got a job that paid me a living wage and so I became the highest earner in my family because my parents were undocumented and don't get paid well," Thais Marques told NY Daily News.
Marques came to the U.S. illegally with her parents from Brazil when she was just 5, one of the almost 800,000 "Dreamers" that DACA is meant for. The legislation was created so that children brought into the country illegally would not suffer from their parents' decisions, but instead have the ability to build lives free from fear of deportation in the country they've grown up in. If Congress does not act to circumvent Trump's decision to end the program, CNN reports that 300,000 people could lose their protected status by 2018, and 320,000 more from January to August of 2019.
The loss of DACA, if not saved by Congress, will have a profound impact on communities across America. Some Dreamers are college students or have upwardly mobile jobs and play an important role in lifting their families from poverty and empowering historically vulnerable populations.
"We're sitting here, all DACA recipients, to show Trump that we're not gonna be afraid of him," Erika Andiola told reporters for The Associated Press. "That we're tired of him attacking us and we're gonna continue to fight, not just for Dreamers, but for our families. We didn't come to this country alone. We came with our community, we came with our families."
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS, Aaron P. Bernstein