Video and photos by Sam Mayfield. Text by Sam Mayfield and Ben Dangl
On Saturday, September 9th around 2,000 people came together at the Idaho State Capitol in Boise to support young recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented under the Obama administration in 2012, and currently under attack by Trump.
The DACA program provides protection from deportation and a work permit to undocumented individuals who came to the United States with their guardians when they were children. DACA recipients are often called DREAMers, after the after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors act, which was similar to DACA, but never approved by Congress.
Approximately 800,000 young people living in the United States are part of the DACA program.
“I’ve grown up with these [DACA recipients] and I know how hard it is,” said Annadellia, who was at the Boise rally. “I couldn’t imagine not being able to follow through with your dreams, not being able to go to school, or lose your job, or be forced to be in a country that you don’t even know anything about. I’m just privileged that I got to be born here. It could have been me, it could have been anybody in my family.”
DACA and those it protects are currently under threat by the Trump administration, which plans to close the program down. On September 5th, Trump ordered an end to the program and asked Congress to work on a replacement before DACA is phased out in six months.
“I think it’s really unfair to use Dreamers as a [political] bargaining chip. They’re not bargaining chips, they’re people,” Estefania Mondragon, pro-DACA rally organizer, told Toward Freedom. “We need a very humane and compassionate immigration reform bill.”
Students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, lawmakers, and community members stood in solidarity on the Capitol steps in Boise listening to speakers and showing support for the program that makes education and employment possible for hundreds of thousands of people.
“As an educator I think it is my moral responsibility to be here and to show my students that I support them, and that they are very important members of this society,” said Alicia Garza, an instructor at Boise State University.
DACA has been targeted by Republican lawmakers for years, and Trump’s election has emboldened DACA critics to strengthen efforts against the program.
Idaho is home to state Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden, one of the 10 Republican attorneys general who threatened a lawsuit against the Trump administration unless it ended DACA by September 5th, pressuring Trump to take action.
“There are so many injustices currently happening [in America] and DACA is not one of them,” Cristina, from Boise, told Toward Freedom. “DACA students and DACA recipients are not criminals. They are students going to college, trying to be someone in life.”
To contact Idaho Attorney General Lawerence G. Wasden to voice your concerns, call (208) 334-2400 or visit his office’s website.
Sam Mayfield is the Director of the feature length award winning film “Wisconsin Rising” and Co-Director of the documentary film,”Silenced Voices”. She is a video journalist and documentarian. Twitter: @samayfield. Ben Dangl is the editor of TowardFreedom.com.