Politics

Group rallies outside Santa Maria High School in support of DACA program

Program helps undocumented youth earn work permits

Group rallies outside Santa Maria...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A couple dozen people gathered to rally outside of Santa Maria High School Friday in support of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. 

People were chanting and holding signs while cars honked as they drove down Broadway. 

"We were brought here for a better life," DACA student Elide Herrera said. 

Elide Herrera remembers back in 2012, when she found out President Obama was rolling out the DACA program.

"Man we were happy, we were really happy to see that something life changing was happening at that moment," Herrera said. 

Herrera, along with hundreds of thousands of other undocumented immigrants across the United States, signed up for the program which has allowed her to be able to go to school and get financial aid.

"Taking my general education and I'm hoping to transfer to Cal Poly next year so I should be applying this coming November to major in biochemistry," Herrera said. 

DACA has also allowed her to get a work permit.

People, like Herrera, can reapply for Daca protection every two years. 

"We left our places because of something that we couldn't handle that was beyond our control," Herrera said. 

With President Trump set to decide on Tuesday to keep the program around or not, she's worried.

"We don't know what's going to happen..it's really uncertain and I really hope President Trump doesn't end this program because it could really affect our families," Herrera said.   

The DACA program was started in 2012 by President Obama, designed to let undocumented youth go to college, get student aid and work permits.

President Trump is scheduled to decide on Tuesday if the program will remain in place. We spoke with a DACA student at the rally who hopes it does.

"And in the long run I hope they can pass something that will give us a path to citizenship or at least something else other than a working permit so we can do more and achieve more," DACA student Elide Herrera said.  

The rally wrapped up at around five. 

Joana Barrera helped organize the rally.

"It's important that we stand not just with our Daca recipients but with all of our immigrant families," rally organizer Joana Barrera said. 

"So this sign, I'm here to support Daca and immigrant justice.. they deserve the same rights as everyone in this country," Daisy Basulto, who attended the rally said. 

They call the people in the Daca program "Dreamers" and that's exactly what Herrera intends to keep doing.

"Once I get my bachelor's degree I really hope to go into the research area.. I've also considered going into teaching.. so the same way people have been helping me, I really hope that I can give back to my community and pay it forward," Herrera said. 

Supporters will be watching closely as President Trump makes his decision on Tuesday. 


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