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DACA advocates rally in L.A., Irvine, across country while UC calls for bipartisan legislation

The beating of Korean drums drowned out chants of “Yes, we can!” Monday evening, as immigrants right activists and people in favor of tougher immigration laws both protested outside the Irvine office of Rep. Mimi  Walters.

More than 150 pro-immigration activists noisily chanted, cheered and marched while a smaller group carrying signs with messages like “No DACA, Americans First” marched alongside, sometimes videotaping the protesters. A Facebook feed of the event was provided by the Korean Resource Center, a social justice organization in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

The Irvine protest was one of dozens of similar rallies held across the country Monday, March 5, the day President Trump once set as a deadline for Congress to come up with a new immigration law to replace the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Though the March 5 deadline has been rendered moot by recent court decisions, more than one million young people who came to the United States illegally as children remain in legal limbo until DACA is either allowed to stand or another set of rules is established.

The protest in Irvine did not generate arrests or violence. In Washington D.C., nearly 100 people were arrested during acts of civil disobedience in front of the Capitol and in visits to officers of congressional members, according to a news release from immigrant rights organizations.

U.S. Capitol Police break chains locking together supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, who were participating in an act of civil disobedience in support of DACA recipients, Monday, March 5, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In Los Angeles, advocates for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, gathered in downtown in support of the nearly 700,000 people who have the temporary relief from deportation known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“One of four DACA recipients is in California. We need to lead the way,” one woman said before leading her crowd in a chant of “Say it loud, say it clear: Immigrants are welcome here.”

More than 75 CHIRLA members rallied in support of DACA outside Los Angeles City Hall on Monday, March 5. (Photo courtesy of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.)

The Trump administration announced last September that it plans to dismantle the Obama-era program and stopped accepting DACA renewal applications on Oct. 5. But two federal courts issued injunctions this year, ordering the government to continue accepting renewals while this issue plays out in court.

The University of California system, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that resulted in the first injunction last January, on Monday issued a news release urging Congress to pass bipartisan legislation for permanent protection of DACA recipients.

“We will continue to fight against the planned rescission of DACA, which harms program recipients from a legal perspective and harms our country from a moral perspective. Congress must act,” read the statement.

Roxana Kopetman
The Orange County Register

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