Hours after the Trump administration announced its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, about 100 students and members of the community gathered in front of the Ohio Union to protest.
The program prohibited the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
The group of students wanted to speak out against the decision to end DACA. They held signs and voiced support for “Dreamers” — those who are enrolled in the DACA program — in a rapid response event organized by Indivisible Ohio, an organization dedicated to opposing the Trump administration’s policies.
“Knowing my own marginalized identity, I know how important it is to show up for other people who are also being oppressed in the society.” – Madison Taylor, second-year in geography.
The rally had many speakers, each with their own message, including Karl Stevens, an Episcopal preacher, who shared his story of a DACA student he taught while he was a professor at Kenyon College.
Stevens shared parts of a letter he wrote on behalf of the student, Marco Saavedra, for Saavedra’s immigration hearing. Saavedra, along with eight other dreamers, self-deported to Mexico in July. They hoped to record their story and release it publicly in hopes of publicizing the treatment of detainees at detention camps, a Kenyon College newsletter said.
The group was detained for several days before demanding readmittance to the U.S. They were then able to appear before a judge to seek asylum.
Stevens referred to his former student as “a man of great moral bravery.”
“I’ve benefited from people like Marco more than they will ever benefit from me,” Stevens said.
Many students in the crowd had emotional ties to DACA, whether they were personal connections or friends affected by the program.
Madison Taylor, a second-year in geography, who is African-American, said she came to the rally to show solidarity among minority students.
“Knowing my own marginalized identity, I know how important it is to show up for other people who are also being oppressed in the society,” Taylor said. “I think all our liberations are all interconnected.”
Michelle Nkumsah, an Ohio State graduate student in public administration and daughter of immigrants, said immigration has been a part of her life since she was young.
“I am disappointed,” Nkumsah said of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA. “I wish I could say I am surprised, but I’m not.”
Nicole Zaayer, a second-year student studying strategic communication, said she came to the rally to show support for her friends who would be impacted.
“Even though you don’t know anyone personally, they are still your classmates and they are still Buckeyes,” Zaayer said.