GR protests DACA decision

On Tuesday, Sept.5, 2017, Donald Trump announced he will end the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

DACA was put in place by President Barack Obama in 2012. It grants children of undocumented immigrants opportunities such as: the ability to get a driver’s license, go to college and purchase a home. Many of these “Dreamers,” as they are often called, do not know that they were brought here illegally until they try to get a driver’s license or a job. It is estimated that about 800,000 Dreamers live in the U.S. For them, the United States is the only home they have ever known. Now, the future is uncertain for these individuals, their lives dependent upon politicians’ decisions.

In response to Trump’s action, many cities are hosting events to show support for DACA and Dreamers. Grand Rapids had such a march to protest ending DACA on Tuesday Sept.5, 2017. Several Calvin students and faculty were in attendance. Walking through the streets downtown, they chanted phrases in English and Spanish, such as “Education! Not Deportation!” and “Si se puede” (“Yes we can”).

When asked why events like these are important to them, Calvin students focused on the idea of solidarity. One student in attendance, Miriam Kornelis, a senior at Calvin, explained, “Rallies, marches, and vigils are important to raise awareness and form solidarity around current issues of concern in our society.”

“It’s important to stand in solidarity with those in your community that are facing injustices like this one,”Abby Kroon, another senior at Calvin said. She added, “I think it’s important to be a body that physically shows up to say that what is happening is not okay.”  

Kroon, who has been active in fighting for DACA, suggests contacting your representatives and asking them to pass legislation that protects DACA recipients. In some cases, it is as easy as sending a text. “I’ve been doing it every morning before my classes,” Kroon says. Kornelis recommended “finding an organization to donate your time or resources to -whether that’s a local organization supporting Dreamers at the individual level or a national organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center.” Both Kroon and Kornelis emphasized the importance of staying informed, educating yourself and engaging with the people around you.

Professor Linda Naranjo-Huebl of the English Department addressed the role her Christian faith plays in her support of DACA. She stated that Christians have “responsibilities toward the vulnerable, the stranger, the oppressed—those people Jesus identifies in Matthew 25:44.”

DACA affects many in the Grand Rapids community. To support Dreamers, you can write letters, emails and call your representatives. You can even compose a fax to your representatives by texting RESIST to 50409.