By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Students and other citizens took to the state capitol in Montgomery on Wednesday to protest the rolling back of the Deferment Arrival of Childhood Arrivals, which granted legal protections to minor children who were brought to the country illegally.
President Donald Trump rolled back on the Obama-era executive order earlier this month giving it a six-month period of transition.
The rally hosted by the Association of Latino American Students at Auburn University at Montgomery. The speakers at the rally were mainly college and high school students who were granted protections under DACA.
AUM junior Karla Olmos, 20, is a beneficiary of DACA and spoke at the rally. Current provisions under DACA permit her to attend college. She said the United States is the only country she has ever known and said, “I am American.”
“I don’t know another country besides this one,” Olmos said visibly upset. “I pledge every time at school, at work.”
Olmos’ mother, who brought her to the country when she was seven years old, also spoke at the rally.
“We brought them here, it’s not their fault,” she said speaking in Spanish. “It was our choices—not theirs.”
The event drew a sizable crowd with attendees holding signs that read, “Here to stay,” “Defend DACA,” “Resist,” “Dreamers here to stay,” and many more pro-DACA slogans.
An uneasy deal was formed between Democratic leaders in Congress and Trump to pass a DACA-like program through legislation. Multiple national media reported that Trump had reached a deal over a dinner with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca, to pass the DREAM Act of 2017.
Similar bills have been introduced in Congress since 2001 calling for legislative action on immigration. President Barack Obama issued the DACA executive order in 2012 after it became clear the Republican-controlled Congress would block the DREAM Act.
Despite this report, the president has gone on Twitter saying that no deal has yet been reached. The supposed deal would let DACA recipients have legal protections but at the cost of funding for more border security along the Mexican-American border.
If the deal is not brokered, and Congress cannot pass legislation, the estimated 800,000 DACA recipients’ legal statuses could be revoked. Trump said if Congress cannot pass any immigration reform within the six-month period, he will revisit the issue.
The Alabama delegation, aside from U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, to Congress have all released statements supporting Trump’s decisions.
U.S. Senate candidate former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is polling slightly ahead of Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., is opposed to DACA and amnesty for immigrants entering the country illegally in general.
If DACA is revoked, Alabama could see a substantial impact on its economy. A study by the Center for American Progress found that Alabama would lose over $182 million in GDP if DACA workers were removed from the state.
The Wall Street Journal and NBC News conducted a poll released Thursday that showed most Americans support congressional action to continue DACA. It also showed the most opposition comes from Trump supporters.