The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Protest in response to dismissal of DACA brings together campus groups and spikes support of undocumented students

Kassondra Little, Senior Staff Writer

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The clanking of spoons against pots and pans echoed the words of the chanting crowd at the Defend DACA rally.

Protesters gathered in support of undocumented students at 3 p.m. on Friday in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement last Tuesday that he would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In the announcement, Trump said he would give Congress a six-month window to make a decision on whether DACA would be repealed, according to a Sept. 5 CNN article.

“My sister came here undocumented when she was 6 years old and is a DACA recipient,” said sophomore and Black Student Union President Harmony Edosomwan.

Edosomwan said she is concerned with how the president’s repeal will affect her sister.

As a member of an undocumented family, she was fearful that she would come home from college and her mother would not be there after Trump was elected, she said.

“The topic of her being undocumented was really a hushed thing because we were always scared of our family being outed,” she said.

Edosomwan addressed the crowd and expressed her solidarity.

“If you are a DACA recipient, we stand with you,” she said.

Since 2012, immigrants approved for DACA have been able to enroll in college and legally secure jobs, according to the CNN article.

This program is no longer accepting requests as of Sept. 5, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

There are currently over 800,000 DACA recipients in the U. S., according to the website.

These recipients will be eligible for deportation this coming March, according to a Sept. 5 New York Times article.

The BSU joined other organizations like the Mosaic Center, Alianza Latina, the Womyn of Color Association and the LGBTQA Center to organize the rally.

Students chanted in between speakers, alternating from English to Spanish for each chant.

“The people united will never be defeated,” they chanted, then repeated in Spanish,. “Hey hey, ho ho, deportation has got to go.”

The students continued these chants as they marched from Central campus to Waterman building.

UVM will continue to protect undocumented students as much as possible within the federal law, President Tom Sullivan stated in a Sept. 1 press release.

“I want [DACA students] to know that we understand the anxiety and special set of challenges they and their families may face,” Sullivan stated. “We stand united in our efforts to ensure their welfare and academic success at UVM.”

On Thursday, Sullivan joined over 600 other university and college presidents who have publicly signed an agreement to uphold the DACA policy.

“To our country’s leaders, we say that DACA should be upheld, continued and expanded . . . This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity,” the declaration states.

Edosomwan said that the student body plans to hold Sullivan “to his word.”

“If one student leaves [UVM] because of DACA, you’re going to see our faces again,” she said.

After President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said immigrants in the country illegally are taking the wages and jobs of Americans, protests broke out in front of the White House and Justice Department, according to the New York Times article.

Rally leaders junior Z McCarron, sophomore Jordan Ciccone and Edosomwan all said they were happy and impressed with the turnout of the event.

The event was mainly to show “solidarity with DACA students and all undocumented folks in our community,” McCarron said.

To conclude the rally, members of the crowd locked arms and held hands as Ciccone led them in a song:

“What a time to be alive, what a time to be alive,

The revolution has come.

What a time to be alive, what a time to alive,

When we stand up, we’ve already won.”

“It is about demanding humanization for everyone,” Ciccone said. “If there is dehumanization going around, everyone is dehumanized.”

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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
Protest in response to dismissal of DACA brings together campus groups and spikes support of undocumented students