DACA recipients rally outside federal appeals court

A hearing was held on a lawsuit challenging the legality of DACA
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
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DACA beneficiaries chanted and gave speeches following a court hearing on whether DACA is legal.
DACA beneficiaries chanted and gave speeches following a court hearing on whether DACA is legal.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - DACA recipients and supporters took part in a huge rally outside the federal appeals court in New Orleans on Wednesday (July 6).

They want the federal program benefitting thousands who entered the U.S. illegally as kids to remain in place and stretched out on the steps of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal on Camp Street in the New Orleans central business district.

“Home is here, home is here,” they chanted.

Their chants followed a hearing on the future of DACA, the program created by then President Barack Obama that blocks the deportation of thousands brought into the U.S. as children without legal documentation.

Jung Woo Kim of NAKASEC is a DACA recipient.

“I feel really hopeful, yeah, because of all of you, you know what I’m saying? And also, I want to say one thing clear, DACA is not even the first place, right? We want permanent solutions I want my citizenship now,” said Kim.

Kamau Chege also immigrated to the U.S. and is now executive director of Community Alliance.

“Everyone of us who’s been able to get work authorization and protection from deportation and been able to earn a living, every dollar that we’ve been spending to small businesses and coffee shops have been contributing to jobs,” said Chege.

According to the Brookings Institute, estimates of the number of all unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. range from 10.5 million to 12 million.

The DACA recipients say they are also concerned about the millions of other undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

“We want citizenship for all, right?” said Kim to cheers.

Texas us the lead plaintiff in the suit challenging DACA along with eight other states including Louisiana. Last year, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the federal program was illegal. The states involved in the legal challenge says DACA was implemented without going through the proper legal and administrative procedures and that they are harmed financially by immigrants remaining in the country illegal.

Nina Perales of MALDEF is an attorney representing DACA recipients.

“DACA is lawful, it’s appropriate and it should continue but also that Texas has no harm from DACA and so it shouldn’t be able to bring this lawsuit,” said Perales.

Still, some others disagree.

RJ Hauman, Director of Government Relations and Communications at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) issued the following statement.

“When President Obama created DACA, he bypassed Congress’s unambiguous authority to decide who may enter and remain in our nation. Our duly enacted immigration laws are clear – DACA beneficiaries are illegal aliens who have no legal right to live and work in this country, and are subject to removal. These laws cannot be changed or ignored through an executive order, policy memorandum, or regulation.”

“It is unconscionable to see the Biden administration defending DACA in court while an unprecedented number of minors surge across the border – incentivized by lax enforcement policies and promises of amnesty. DACA remains one of the strongest pull factors that ignited the current border crisis, placing an undue burden on states like Texas. Instead of attempting to preserve, fortify, and defend an unlawful amnesty program, the Biden administration should instead devote its limited resources to border security, interior enforcement, and lawful immigration programs that have been authorized by Congress.”

FOX 8 requested comment from Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry for this story, but so far, no comment has been provided.

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