PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a system created by the Obama Administration, gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square to rally against the possibility of President Donald Trump ending the program.
“There are 1,400 individuals that will be losing their jobs!” people chanted at the rally Friday. “What will this create to our economy and our society?”
The DACA program, which gave nearly 800,000 people in the United States a reprieve from deportation, was started in 2012 by former President Barack Obama. Now Trump is considering ending it, and a group of Republican lawmakers have set a Tuesday deadline for a decision, according to the Associated Press.
“I think the decision itself is weighing on him, certainly,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday, via the AP.
During his campaign, Trump consistently pledged to end the program. Now a decision is days away.
Trump indirectly acknowledged DACA recipients that could be affected by his decision, saying “I love dreamers.”
Those dreamers took to downtown Portland Friday and spoke on why they should be allowed to stay in the United States and what the program has done for them.
“I am an immigrant, I am Hispanic, but I’m not a rapist,” said Brenda, a DACA recipient at Friday’s rally. “I’m not a criminal. I am a hardworking American because even though I wasn’t born here my parents brought me here when I was 4 years old.”
Liliana Luna, a Cornelius resident, has used the DACA program to live the American dream. She graduated from college and is now working toward a masters degree.
“I’m able to work at a place I really enjoy, I was able to buy a house and contribute to my community,” Luna said. “So it really changed my life.”
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese also spoke at the rally on Friday in support of DACA recipients.
“It’s certainly vital to our mission that community members feel comfortable calling 911 to report crimes without fear that local law enforcement is enforcing ICE detainers or is an agent of immigration authority,” Reese said. “Our commitment is to protect and serve everyone in this community.”