SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A group of protesters voicing their support for DACA gathered in San Francisco in front of the Federal building early Tuesday evening before marching to City Hall.
The group, numbering in the hundreds and possibly edging over 1,000, carried signs showing support for the over 200,000 Dreamers in California affected by the plan to rescind former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The program has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S.
But the administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program.
The anger of the protesters blocking traffic in SoMa was palpable. And for some, like Daly City resident and DACA recipient Ubaldo Campos, the announcement was a sobering reality.
“I just feel like I got played,” said Campos. “I came here when I was two years old. I had no say, I was two years old and then they just want me to leave this country. I’m more American than I am Mexican.”
Campos is unsure of what his future holds, despite promises of a six month reprieve from action to revoke DACA status.
“I feel like at the moment, the laws keep changing and that everyone who’s a DACA recipient is going to get deported,” said Campos. “They know where I live, they know where my family lives. They have all my information.”
It wasn’t just undocumented immigrants protesting in the streets of San Francisco, but those who love them, like Carina Barnett-Loro.
“I think for a lot of people it’s these big numbers of undocumented immigrants,” said Barnett-Loro. “Each of these numbers is a person: it’s a friend, it’s a colleague, it’s a family member. It’s a lot of the people here in this crowd and I think it’s important to remember that these policies affect real people.
The protesters marched a short distance from the Federal Building at 7th Street near Mission up along Market Street before heading to Civic Center Plaza in front of San Francisco’s City Hall.
While the growing protest remained peaceful, there was a large contingent of San Francisco police officers present to keep the peace and control the crowd as it blocked major downtown thoroughfares.
Muni service was affected by the demonstration, shutting down streetcar service along Market Street between Van Ness and Embarcadero and impacting other routes in the area.
The demonstration was one of a number of protests across the country in response to the announcement Tuesday morning about the end of the DACA program. Thousands of activists gathered in peaceful demonstrations in Denver, Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles.