On September 5th, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the news that the Trump administration is rescinding the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as DACA, and that they will phase out the program within the next six months. This dissemination was met with nationwide protests and rallies to defend the program.
Fresno is no stranger to diversity, being in the Central Valley we are exposed to people of all colors and creeds, and are especially aware of the vital roles that Mexican-Americans play in our society. So the amount of local backlash to this news is not the least bit surprising.
In the last month, multiple events have been organized in Fresno to defend DACA. Maybe one of the largest of said events was the “March To Defend DACA” that took place in the Tower District on September 17th. This event alone saw over 1,000 people in attendance.
The organizers and marchers worked alongside the Fresno Police Department to make sure that the event ran smoothly. This protest had a resonating sentiment of unity against this proposition to end DACA, with marchers chanting the mantra “the people united will never be divided” while carrying signs of encouragement for DREAMers, as well as signs displaying disdain for the decision to end the program. The march ended with a poem about the contributions immigrants make, as well as an uplifting speech from event coordinator Sophia Bautista.
Another reaction to the phasing out of DACA was the “DACA Town Hall” hosted by Radio Bilingue on September 20th. This town hall allowed the public to share their questions and concerns with California State Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, Fresno Unified Trustee Claudia Cazares, State Center Community College District Trustee Miguel Arias and Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria. Unfortunately, Mayor Lee Brand, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyre, Fresno Sheriff Margaret Mims and the other members of the City Council – all of whom were also invited – did not attend.
Unlike the protest on the 5th, this town hall had a solemn and more serious tone to it. The march in Tower was lighthearted and showed support for DREAMers, while this meeting allowed residents to voice their fear and desperation for their loved ones who are at risk with DACA ending.
Collectively, the panel praised the new Dream Success Center at Fresno State and promised to actively advocate for the immigrant community and their rights.
With community outcry against the rescinding of DACA, as well as the openness of community officials to listen to said outcry, Fresno as a whole has shown that it is against the removal of this integral program. This opposition may or may not affect the opinions of individuals with enough power to change the rescinding of DACA, but there is no doubt that the community will continue to stand together against its repeal.