About 60 March Through UH Campus To Urge Congress To Protect DACA Beneficiaries

A small group counter protested the rally

A group of between 50 and 60 people marched Thursday through the University of Houston's (UH) main campus urging Congress to pass a law that will legalize the immigration status of DREAMers before the end of the year and, eventually, provide them with a path to citizenship.

DREAMers are undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors and, according to the Pew Research Center, there are more than 120,000 in Texas who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that President Barack Obama established in the summer of 2012.

A group of people marched urging Congress to pass a law that will legalize the immigration status of DREAMers.

President Donald Trump said in September that Congress has six months “to legalize DACA,” and added if lawmakers don't accomplish that task he will “revisit” the issue.

The rally at UH was organized by United We Dream and other grass roots groups and the participants demanded a “clean Dream Act,” meaning a law that will keep protecting DREAMers from potential deportations, will not be subjected to any conditions –such as Congress approving funding to build a wall in the border with Mexico— and will eventually provide them with an opportunity to become U.S. citizens.

“The time to act is now. People are losing their DACA statuses, families are being divided, detention centers are inhumane,” said Franklin Enriquez, a DACA beneficiary who is originally from El Salvador and arrived in the U.S. when he was 8 years-old.

A group of people marched urging Congress to pass a law that will legalize the immigration status of DREAMers.

Chanting slogans such as “undocumented, unafraid!” and “we are the immigrants, the mighty, mighty immigrants!,” the rally's participants marched through the UH campus and ended their rally at Butler Plaza with several of them telling the crowd how they arrived in the U.S. and have learned to love the country, as well as expressing their concern over the potential end of DACA.

A group of four young men counter protested.

Two of them wore the red hats Trump used during his presidential campaign, with the slogan “Make America great again,” and chanted slogans such as “Build a wall!”

One of the counter protesters was Steven Lewis.

A 21 year-old computer science student from UH, Lewis told Houston Public Media he believes “if you are here illegally, you gotta go.”

At the end of the rally, Enriquez urged the participants to contact the offices of the two Senators who represent Texas in the high chamber, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both of whom are Republicans, as well as Republican Representative John Culberson, who is also a member of the Texas Congressional delegation.

Nearly two dozen House Republicans on Thursday pressed Speaker Paul Ryan to act quickly on legislation that would protect DACA beneficiaries.

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