SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Dozens of activists, residents and lawmakers rallied in front of San Jose City Hall Sunday afternoon, defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as DACA.
A federal judge recently ruled the Obama-era policy protecting undocumented children brought to this country is unconstitutional. For so many of the so-called “Dreamers”, they’re frustrated with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.READ MORE: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
Jenni Hernandez has been fighting for a path to citizenship for decades, ever since her parents brought her to the Bay Area when she was just a year old.
“Every time I apply for DACA I feel like it’s just ripped out of my arms every single time,” she said. “The closer I get the more I feel like people stop caring.”
The recent federal court ruling blocks all new DACA applicants seeking protection from deportation.
Local lawmakers are demanding action.
“It is very disappointing to see that Obama’s vice president who is now President has not immediately jumped onto it because this is the first step,” said State Assemblymember Alex Lee. “DACA was supposed to be the first step to make sure that everyone has a path to citizenship and we can’t go backwards. That’s why we need immediate action now.”
Sam Francisco Republican Chair John Dennis placed the blame on Congress.READ MORE: Advocates for Immigrant Rights March From Santa Rosa to Healdsburg
“There are Republicans who are sympathetic to this position and there is a way forward only if the House Democrats specifically can get its own people in line and get a standalone bill passed and brought onto the Senate,” he said.
Jesus Ruiz says he spent months in a detention center after showing up to work years ago.
“Thanks to this community that saw my case and saw how unjust it was,” he said. “They spoke up for me and stood up for me and pushed so that I could be here right now.”
He’s father to a newborn son and works full-time at The Rapid Response Network Santa Clara, which helps other undocumented residents from being deported.
For Jenni, she hasn’t wavered either, in fighting for her dream and for those like her.
“I want my communities’ voice to be heard because we work so hard to be here and I’m tired of people in power not seeing us as humans,” said Hernandez.
The recent federal court ruling doesn’t abolish DACA entirely. It still protects current recipients and their work permits for now.MORE NEWS: Pelosi Expects House to Pass Infrastructure Bill This Week
Vice President Kamala Harris met with DACA recipients days ago, as the White House is pushing Congress to make progress on immigration reform.