Originally published by Los Angeles Times
Immigration activists in Los Angeles planned to rally Saturday, hoping to put more pressure on lawmakers to come up with legislative reforms that would include deportation protection for people whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally as children.
"We cannot stand by and watch Congress disintegrate into playing games and leave the dreams and aspirations of so many young people aside," said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights L.A.
Organizers expect 200 to 500 people to attend the march in Westwood to the Federal Building at noon Saturday, he said.
President Trump and Congress are scrambling to formulate compromise legislation to address the fallout from his decision last September to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by March. The program currently allows about 800,000 young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children to live and work legally in the country.
Last year, the Trump administration said only DACA recipients whose status expired before March 5 could apply for renewal, and they had to do so by Oct. 5. But in mid-January the government began accepting applications again after a federal judge in San Francisco issued an order temporarily blocking the decision to end DACA.
CHIRLA has helped process about 250 renewal applications in Los Angeles since then, Cabrera said, but organizers believe not all those eligible may be applying for renewal.
"There's still the belief [among recipients] that maybe this is over, so they can't renew," Cabrera said. "It might be an issue of money. It may be that folks are losing faith in the system. So one more broken promise by this administration, and a number of young people may not want to renew."
Since October, CHIRLA has organized multiple delegations of DACA recipients and young people in the country illegally without DACA status to pressure lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow the so-called Dreamers to stay in the country, he said.
Democrats broke their promise to block a budget from being passed until there was an immigration solution when they voted to end a short government shutdown, Cabrera said.
"It looked like … party politics played a much more important role during the shutdown than a need to come up with a solution," he said.
Also Saturday, the Chinese American Equalization Assn. will rally in front of the Federal Courthouse in downtown L.A. at 11 a.m. to protest "the anti-immigrant policies proposed by the White House and the GOP legislators, especially the recent White House proposal to end family reunification in exchange for DACA legalization," according to the organizers' Facebook page.
Irvine resident Shan Wu said she would be attending the rally downtown after hearing about it online. A Chinese national, Wu lives and works in the U.S. as a landscape architect on an H-1B visa. She's hoping to be approved for a green card, she said.
"I'm a beneficiary of the current immigration policy," Wu said. "My mom is a U.S. citizen, she petitioned for me for green card."
She wants her 3-year-old son to grow up in a cleaner environment than the one in China and have access to a good education, she said.