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Aqui Estamos y No, Nos Vamos! Grand Rapids rallies against racist anti-DACA policy

September 6, 2017

Last night roughly 500 people marched, chanted and rallied to denounce the racist anti-DACA policy put forth by the Trump administration yesterday.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a policy adopted under the Obama administration because undocumented youth had forced the previous administration to not add them to the more than 3 million who had already been deported.

The new position taken by the Trump administration will impact 800,000 undocumented youth and their families. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth will lose their jobs every month, hundreds of students will be forced to drop out of school, families will lose their main financial support. Everyone will feel the impact of losing young undocumented workers, whether we are aware of it or not.

The march led by DACA youth moved through downtown Grand Rapids last night, shutting down streets, taking over all traffic lanes, as you can see in this video of the march on Pearl Street.

Some allies who attended the march last night wanted to insert their own perspective on the new Trump anti-DACA policy, bringing American flags and wanting to name DACA youth as Americans. Such statements are always problematic. We cannot forget that US foreign policy – that it, US political, economic, and military intervention – is largely responsible for creating the conditions that have forced people to flee their homelands. Today, people continue to be criminalized, displaced, murdered and disappeared as a direct result of US-trained repressive security forces in their country of origin and transit, only to be confronted with a militarized border, racist laws, and an official xenophobic rhetoric.

The march ended up at the Calder Plaza, with the final chant being – Aqui Estamos y No, Nos Vamos! We are here to stay! We are not leaving!

After the march there were several DACA youth speakers and other members of the immigrant community. The Movimiento Cosecha Grand Rapids organized the action and invited people to continue to be engage and active, as this fight is just beginning. Members of Movimiento Cosecha also made it clear that they are not seeking immigration reform, instead they are demanding Respect, Dignity and Permanent Protection. For those of us who are allies, let us honor their demands and stand with them no matter the consequences.

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