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DACA deadline causes civil disobedience action
SCCC student among 87 detained
March 6, 2018
The lack of action Congress has taken towards DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) had multiple Dreamers in human chains. A human chain is three layers of people linking hands in protest. The first layer of people were chained together. The second layer of people held pipes around the first layer. The third layer consisted of Dreamers sitting around the circle on Independence Street in Washington D.C. on March 5.
The Metropolitan police of D.C. gave out three verbal warnings to unlock and clear the street. When the human chain remained, police arrested 87 people for Citation #22–1307: crowding, obstructing, or incommoding. Some of the Dreamers had to spend the night in jail for resisting arrest.
SCCC’s Sarahi Aguilera partook in the civil disobedience action and was one of the people taken into custody. Civil Disobedience is defined as the refusal to obey certain laws or governmental demands for the purpose of influencing legislation or government policy. Aguilera put her life on the line to call out to congressman to make a change to DACA.**
“I got asked to participate in civil disobedience and I did it. Once I was there, I knew there was no going back” Aguilera said. She was part of the “third layer” sitting around the inner circles.
Aguilera spent five hours in a holding room with the other 87 people arrested. The Dreamers had zip-ties around their wrist. Each had to get a background check and fill out paperwork, while still being zip-tied.
“The zip ties were on too tight and when I asked them if they could loosen them, the police officer said ‘no’,” Aguilera explained.
She was charged with a citation and had to pay a $50 dollar fine before being released.
March 5 marked the end of the extension period for Congress to act on the DACA program. Once again, Congress failed to come to a conclusion and has put off changes to DACA until possibly next year. Aguilera has been to D.C. once a month, or a total of six times, since November 2017 to fight for DACA.
DACA is a program for children who came to the U.S illegally as children and grew up here. It allows them to get a permit to stay in the country without risk of deportation but it is not a pathway to citizenship. This act allows Dreamers (as they are called) to be able to obtain a social security card, a bank account, a driver’s license and even be able to get help with school.
The problems with Congress have caused Dreamers to amplify their voices for a greater impact. They’ve also used the opportunity to show thanks and give back by fighting for their communities.
“My parents sacrificed a lot for me and I wanted to give back. I want to show to my immigrant community that we have a voice and we can speak out.” Aguilera said.
Something powerful arose in Aguilera when she sat in the circle and was being part of something so big.
“I’m glad I did it, I feel powerful,” Aguilera said about the civil disobedience act.
Approximately 800 people from different backgrounds, came from all around the country and marched to the capital, asking congress for a new Dream Act.
What is next for DACA? As of right now, the next budget meeting is set for March 23. DACA may come up but no official plans have been made yet.
“Congress doesn’t plan to do anything as of now but I hope they do act on it” Aguilera said.
** Update to story March 7, 2017