Tuesday night, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside of Glenwood Springs High School to show their support for those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. The Obama-era program covers immigrants who were brought into the United States when their parents entered illegally.
After the Trump administration announced plans to end the program, several lawsuits were filed and its fate is now in the hands of the Supreme Court, which heard arguments on DACA Tuesday.
The rally began with short speeches about the necessity of the program’s protections and the contributions of the people it covers, who are often referred to as DREAMers. Afterwards, the demonstrators marched and chanted along Colorado State Highway 82, as dense rush hour traffic passed by.
Mateo Lozano, who helped organize the event, is a DREAMer and the Rocky Mountain regional coordinator for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
“These are our neighbors and family,” Lozano said. “We’ve been living amongst these folks our entire lives. So many of them have been put into the shadows. We’ve been forced into positions where we can’t talk and speak out about what’s been happening.”
Lozano went on to emphasize the need for support from legislators.
“We cannot allow for a politician who has never met us, who doesn’t know our story, who hasn’t seen the pain and suffering that our community goes through, to make a decision so brash as to take our status away,” Lozano said.
Jennifer Smith, an immigration attorney based in Glenwood Springs, also called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would provide a path to legal status for those who seek it.
“My business has worked and depended on DACA recipients since the program’s inception in 2012,” Smith said. “We cannot afford to lose them to the whims of politicians.”
Smith also introduced Alex Alvarado, a DACA recipient who now works as a paralegal at her firm. He expressed gratitude for the program that helped pave the way for him to obtain that job.
Laura Segura, who is not a DACA recipient but has lived in the United States since immigrating thirty years ago, emphasized the nation’s history in her call to lawmakers.
“Immigrants are not the problem,” Segura said in Spanish. “We are the strength of this nation. We are a nation of immigrants, since this great nation was founded. It is a union of immigrants. That is why I ask legislators today to look back five generations and see that they are immigrants."