DACA Rally at Pres

Siri Yendluri, Senior Opinions Editor

“Many like to say that it is important to be tolerant and accepting of different opinions and to accept freedom of speech no matter the cost. However, let it be known that believing the deportation of children and parents, inevitably ripping apart families, and stealing the education and opportunities that someone has worked for hard all of their life is not an opinion,” said senior Lauren Vives at Presentation’s September 14 DACA rally.

Thursday’s rally, organized by Campus Ministry Director Claire Foley, attracted many students to the courtyard to voice their support for Dreamers. Students cheered for the words students and faculty had against the repeal and wrote letters to be sent to members of Congress.

Besides Vives, seven other students gave speeches denouncing the repeal of DACA proposed by the Trump administration. DACA, also known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an executive order President Obama passed to make either the children of undocumented immigrants or those who illegally entered the country as minors eligible for work permits. It also provides a renewable two-year postponement of deportation to DACA recipients. Recipients must have a clean criminal record and also meet many other requirements.

Principal Mary Miller kicked off the rally giving a powerful speech supporting DACA recipients. She said, “This afternoon, we are here to speak out and stand in solidarity with 800,000 people whose future in America is under fire. This is not a political issue, although political we must be. This is a moral issue, and the Presentation community will not be silent.”

Miller called on students and leaders to take action against the repeal. “We are fortunate to live in this place in this town in this state. And we want to stand up for what is right and what we know in our hearts to be true: Dreamers are not statistics. They are our students, our neighbors, our friends. They cannot be sent home. They are home,” she said.

Many students representing clubs also spoke out against the repeal of DACA. Speech and Debate officers Nina Ramchandani and Aarushi Sahejpal informed students about the importance of DACA and the dangers of its repeal. Sahejpal, senior, said, “If a group of high school girls can understand the so-called complexities of DACA, then I’m sure that with a little push, those in Washington and Congress can too. The rest is up to you.”

Community Involvement officers Teresa Nguyen and Isabel Jaffer connected the DACA repeal to the denial of human dignity by quoting important religious figures like Pope Francis and Father Gregory Boyle.

Vives and Senior Claudia Pedroza represented LatinX and expressed their frustration with the repeal of DACA. Vives, a senior, said, “It is important to acknowledge the role each of us play in contributing to a culture that teaches us that some lives matter more than others. It is even more important to acknowledge the power each of us holds in not only the words but the deeds that we carry out each day to combat such an unfair system.”

After listening to the students’ speeches, students prayed and sang in hope for DACA recipients. Multiple students also participated in SPA’s letter-writing activity and wrote to members of Congress to express their opposition to the DACA repeal.

Pedroza summed up the message behind the rally: “This country was founded by immigrants looking for a safe place to live and pursue their own dreams. These dreamers are no different. Don’t speak for dreamers or the Latino community. Speak with us, and stand next to us. Remind our government that our country is a nation of immigrants and that the strength of our society is determined by the way we treat our most vulnerable.”