Thousands of New Yorkers are planning to rally outside Trump Hotel at 1 Central Park West at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday to march in support of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). President Donald Trump is considering eliminating the Obama-era program, which allows undocumented immigrants who come to the United States as children to receive protection from deportation and work permits for two years, with an option to renew.
The program has provided temporary status and work permits to roughly 800,000 immigrants since its inception in 2012. In New York state, 42,000 people have benefited, according to Make The Road New York.
"I went from not being able to work, not being able to drive, living in fear, not knowing what could potentially happen to me, how would my future unfold, to eventually having some sense of what I can do to help myself and how I could prepare better for the future," said DACA recipient Jessica Colotl, of Georgia, in a recent Q+A with the American Civil Liberties Union.
"The threat to DACA is a reckless and heartless attack rooted in the same white supremacy that we saw on display in Charlottesville, and in Trump's failure to denounce it," said rally organizers, including Make The Road New York, The New York Immigration Coalition, and Women's March, among others.
Trump has been inconsistent on DACA. He criticized the program on the campaign trail, but promised to maintain it as recently as June. Now, anonymous White House sources have said that Trump is considering ending the program early next month, following a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urging the Trump Administration to rescind DACA under threat of legal action (DACA has been challenged in the past as an overstep of executive authority). The letter is cosigned by AGs from eight other states, including Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho.
"Specifically, we request that the Secretary of Homeland Security rescind the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum and order that the Executive Branch will not renew or issue any new DACA or Expanded DACA permits in the future," Paxton wrote, according to the Texas Tribune. He did not call on Trump to remove current recipients from the country.
"I would be very uncomfortable saying where the president is leaning,” one senior White House aide told Politico this week. "I don't have a clear sense of where he'll go." Chief of Staff John Kelley supports DACA, according to the outlet, while policy adviser Stephen Miller opposes it. Sources said Trump's team has considered blocking all new enrollees, or possibly stopping work permit renewals this year.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 28, 2017
Churches United for Fair Housing, one of the groups organizing tonight's rally, says it will provide resources to any concerned New Yorkers if DACA is in fact repealed.
"If Trump does announce the end of DACA, you can come to CUFFH's community centers for information, advice, direct services and mutual support," the group said. "We'll be available around the clock."