A People of Color rally was held on Pearl Street Wednesday night over the decision made by President Trump on Tuesday to rescind a program that gives temporary work and study permits to young people who were brought to the United States illegally.
The rally, planned by Raffi Mercuri, gathered a sizable crowd. During the event, people of color spoke out on behalf of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, as well as the immigrant community in general. Dreamers, those who receive two-year temporary work or study permits through DACA, and allies of the program comprised the crowd. Speakers at the rally had to shout because they were unable to use megaphones. Mercuri said it was important to host this event because he wanted DACA recipients to see support from all groups.
“I don’t want to take away from the efforts of our white allies,” Mercuri said after the rally. “But I also wanted to show the Dreamers in Boulder County that there are people of color here, and we are here, and to a degree we understand, and we want to show our support for you.”
The decision to rescind DACA was announced Tuesday morning by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. President Obama created DACA through an executive order in 2012. The program applies to people who arrived in the U.S. before June 15, 2007, and were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. Work or study permits last for two years and can be renewed. Around 800,000 people are enrolled across the country, with about 33,000 living in Colorado. These estimates may be lower than current numbers, as the data is from 2013 and was based on self-reporting.
Speakers at the rally included State Representative Joe Salazar, speakers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, as well as a “Dreamer” and her sister.
Salazar’s inclusion is notable because he sponsored a bill in the State House that would make Colorado immune from complying with federal immigration laws. The “Ralph-Carr” Act would have prohibited the detention of someone based on their immigration status, among other provisions.
The bill made it through the State House but died in the State Senate.
“I’m going to reintroduce Ralph-Carr,” Salazar, a Democrat from Thornton, said after the rally.
The speakers all gave their reasons for supporting DACA, often saying the reliance that communities have on the work done by Dreamers. DACA recipients are “relatively well-educated,” according to NPR. This factor would lead recipients to fill higher-level jobs than people who otherwise arrived in the country illegally.
Another reason for supporting the program, repeated over the course of the rally, is that DACA recipients pay taxes.
People attending the rally also held signs and broke out into chants. The most popular chant was, “Sí se puede,” Spanish for “Yes we can.” The phrase originiated from César Chávez’s 24-day fast in 1972. President Obama used the English translation as his 2008 campaign slogan.
The rally followed several events in Boulder that responded initially to the Tuesday announcement.
Contact CU Independent Editor-in-Chief Jake Mauff at firstname.lastname@example.org.