CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - Dozens of immigration activists gathered along the Courtney Campbell Causeway Sunday, protesting the possible end to an Obama-era program that gave hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants the chance to stay in the U.S.
Reports late Sunday evening indicated President Trump has decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, with a six-month delay to give Congress the opportunity to act. An official announcement from the president is expected on Tuesday.
Throughout the weekend, demonstrators across the country and in Tampa Bay have protested President Trump's expected decision; he had railed against the program during his campaign, calling it "illegal amnesty."
"Our parents didn't get that chance to fight for their dreams. They weren't given anything for their dreams to come true, so we're first-generation graduates and we're here to show America that we are the American dream," said Miriam Trejo, one of the young protestors who demonstrated on the Courtney Campbell. "We might not have those documents that they have, but we have the same dreams and we're here to fight. We're not going to let anybody tell us that our dreams can't come true."
In 2012, President Obama enacted DACA, providing protections to undocumented immigrants, known as "Dreamers," who were children when their parents illegally brought them to the U.S.
Many of the activists Sunday are among the roughly 800,000 people who fall under the DACA umbrella. Several of them symbolically wore their high school or college graduation caps and gowns.
"We all decided to wear our caps and gowns to make sure that they know that we're not here, as social media says, that we're criminals. These students have graduated high school," said Nancy Hernandez.
"We're not committing a crime. Being us is not being a crime. We're only going to school," added Trejo, who is pursuing an associate's degree in Special Education. "We are trying to get a piece of the American dream."
House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he hoped President Trump would not dismantle DACA, indicating he would rather give Congress the chance to fix it.