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Michigan protesters vow to fight DACA repeal, call on Congress to "actually do something"

Protesters in Detroit supporting DACA recipients.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Protesters in Detroit support DACA recipients.

People across the country and across Michigan protested President Trump’s plan to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

That’s President Obama’s program that offers protections to some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

People protested and marched in several Michigan communities, including Detroit.

Juan Gonzalez is 24-year-old DACA recipient. He came to the U.S. as a toddler, and grew up in Detroit.

“With DACA, I’ve been able to get a job, buy a house, buy a car, go to school full time, work full time,” Gonzalez said. “It’s been a great time, honestly. It’s been marvelous. But now that’s all in danger.”

But Gonzalez says he’s “not afraid anymore.” He pledged to “stand up,” and push Congress to “actually do something” and pass legislation that would give permanent protections to DACA-eligible young people.

Reverend Kevin Casillas also urged protesters to turn up on the heat on members of Congress. Casillas is the pastor at First Latin American Baptist Church in Detroit, and a teacher at Cass Technical High School.

If DACA is rescinded and Congress fails to act, “We have individuals in our church who would no longer be able to stay here in the United States,” Casillas said.

“I would have students that have graduated, that are now even in Ivy League schools, that have paid their own way and won the scholarships to go there, who would be deported.”

There about 6,400 DACA recipients throughout Michigan, out of an estimated 15,000 eligible. There are around 800,000 in the program nationwide.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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