Connecticut youth head to Washington to defend DACA

U.S. Capitol dome restoration formally finished November 15, 2016. (Photo: Alex Schuman)

WASHINGTON (WTNH) — One hundred undocumented youth from the state of Connecticut traveled to Washington, D.C. early Tuesday morning to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The Connecticut youth joined other immigrants from across the nation for a “National Day of Action” to defend DACA by rallying and marching outside the White House. The students are demanding the Trump administration protect DACA, and the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) program.

The program is at risk because attorneys generals sent a letter to President Trump threatening to sue if the administration doesn’t end the DACA program by Sept. 5.

Aug. 15 marks the fifth anniversary of DACA. During the past five years, 800,000 immigrant youth across the nation, including 5,000 from Connecticut, have been able to get legal protection, go to college, and support their families.

The youth from Connecticut heading to Washington, D.C. are from Danbury, Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven and other towns and cities.

Yeni Cortes, a DACA recipient and New Haven resident, explained the importance of DACA to her own life, and why she wants to fight for it.

DACA has given me and thousands of other immigrant youth the ability to live without fear of deportation, to get a work permit, and a driver’s licenses. Now all that is in danger of being taken away; but we will not go back into the shadows. We will save DACA, and protect our entire communities. We’re going to D.C. with a message to the Trump administration: We have won before, we will win again, and we are here to stay.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy issued the following statement on the fifth anniversary of DACA:

DACA is a prudent policy that ultimately strengthens our country and provides for a brighter future for not only immigrants, but for all Americans.  Over the past five years, those who have benefited from DACA have emerged from the shadows and are working towards realizing the great American dream.  These young people are attending college, starting businesses, and becoming leaders in their communities.  Each new generation of immigrants enriches the American experience, and as a nation of immigrants, we have principled obligation to ensure that the youth in our country are given every opportunity to succeed – and DACA does just that.”

Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman told a story from her personal life to underscore the importance of programs like DACA:

My grandfather came here from Austria and like so many immigrants before him, he helped build this country.  He worked hard, was engaged in his community, and achieved the American dream – a job, a home, and a place to belong.  For centuries, immigrants have made this country stronger, lending their labor, service, and love to an ideal – and all the people who share this ideal.  It’s our turn now to protect that path for those who want to contribute to our nation, those who already consider themselves Americans, but for where they were born.  DACA serves our national interests – ensuring our educated young people can contribute to our communities and the economy.”

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