AU students protest Trump’s DACA decision
About 100 people gathered Saturday outside the White House
The scene outside the White House was angry, impassioned and resolute Saturday, as about 100 people protested President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months.
Several American University and George Washington University students participated in the protest, which supported the program that allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children to work and go to college without fear of deportation.
The protesters created a circle in Lafayette Square behind the White House fence, chanting “no hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” “defend DACA,” “sí se puede,” and expletives directed at Trump.
As they chanted, the protesters held up signs showing their support for DACA and their dislike for Trump. The most common sign read, “Justice & Dignity For All U.S. Immigrants,” and the Spanish translation, “Justicia y Dignidad Para Todos Los Inmigrantes.”
Victoria Kaplun, a freshman at the Kogod School of Business, attended the protest. She said she supports DACA and doesn’t agree with the president’s decision.
Trump “shouldn’t be using almost 800,000 people as a bargaining chip,” Kaplun said.
Nathan Tomaso, a sophomore in the School of International Service, said he was attending the protest to “support DACA and immigrants,” while SIS freshman Diana Roy said that the president had “crushed so many people’s dreams” by ending DACA.
Jose Gaona, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, helped organize the demonstration as a senior adviser to the AU chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a group that advocates to “advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights” of Hispanic people in the U.S., according to its website. While LULAC has been around since 1929, AU’s chapter was founded two years ago.
“Within LULAC, members usually take a very strong, very bold approach to addressing the concerns and the needs of the Latino community,” Gaona told The Eagle prior to the protest. “It was very natural for us to decide to put on the rally.”
Gaona said he hopes the protest will raise awareness and display LULAC’s support for DACA and the undocumented community. After the protest, Gaona spoke to The Eagle and said that the rally brought together “a larger community beyond the campus.”
Looking to the future, Gaona wants to have LULAC members and interested community members lobby members of Congress and explain how the DACA decision affects them personally.
“This was a great outlet for us to be able to express to the [Trump] administration how we feel as students,” Gaona said.