Sept. 8, 2017 By Tara Law
Hundreds of immigrants and their allies marched through in Jackson Heights on Thursday evening calling for the reinstatement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.
DACA was implemented as an executive order by President Barack Obama to shield undocumented immigrants who arrived as children from deportation. On Sep 5, President Donald Trump announced that the program would end in six months. Queens has the most undocumented immigrants among the New York City boroughs— 232,000, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
The march was organized by Make the Road New York, a Latino civic organization.
Although many people were Latino, the crowd was very diverse, reflecting the variety of New Yorkers who have benefited from DACA and/or oppose its revocation.
Nayim Islam, 25, a resident of Jackson Heights and immigrant from Bangladesh, said that he was approved by DACA in 2013. He said that part of what made the implementation of DACA meaningful to him was that undocumented immigrants themselves had fought for its passage.
“It showed we don’t have to sit silently,” he said. He said that he was afraid that DACA had exposed everyone who had applied to the program and their families, since the government has all their personal information. He said he does not trust the Trump administration with that information, and nervous that it will draw on it.
“I don’t think we can trust this administration to protect our community in any manner,” he said.
Chris Lehman said that he was marching with his daughter, Tahlya, 10, in part because his wife is a second-generation immigrant from Ecuador. He added that the family has protested regularly since the presidential election.
“We’re always coming out for any cause that pits Americans against Americans,” he said.