Following the announcement of President Donald Trump’s plan to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that protects minors who illegally immigrated to the United States, San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly community members came together to show their solidarity.
Supporters of DACA chanted together in front of Congressman Salud Carbajal’s San Luis Obispo office to stand with undocumented immigrants.
“No borders, no wall, sanctuary for all!” demonstrators chanted.
Founding member of the Central Coast Coalition for Undocumented Student Success (CCC-USS), Chair of Cal Poly’s Women and Gender Studies Department and co-organizer of the event Jane Lehr said demonstrators came out to respond to Trump’s decision to rescind DACA.
“We are standing with the undocumented,” Lehr said.
Community members held signs with slogans such as “No Borders, No Wall,” “Everybody was undocumented” and “I stand in solidarity for those who came before me.”
Organized by CCC-USS, the rally was, “designed to demonstrate our support for Representative Carbajal’s ongoing commitment to undocumented members of our community and throughout the nation,” according to their Facebook event page.
“It’s not just for DACA recipients, but to all undocumented residents, we are here to defend you,” Lehr said. “We are advocates for comprehensive humane immigration reform for all members of the undocumented community.”
To start off the rally, CCC-USS member Casey McCullough reaffirmed her support of all undocumented immigrants in addition to those with DACA protections.
“We are here to support the undocumented immigrants with and without the temporary protection afforded to them DACA,” McCullough said. “The announcement made this morning reinforces the need to organize and stand in solidarity.”
San Luis Obispo County residents Sarah and Rob Rijnen showed their support for DACA along with their two children. They said they had several reasons for participating in the rally, including fairness, humanity and the future of their country.
Their son, Hannes, was born in Finland. However, he has no familial ties there and does not know the language or culture, Rob said.
“Despite that, he would just be sent back there,” Rob said. “For kids, there is no difference if their parents are legal or illegal. They are just their parents.”
“We want to build up the country through education, not tear it down,” Sarah said.
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong sent an email to the campus community Tuesday regarding Cal Poly’s commitment to DACA students, faculty and staff.
“We at Cal Poly stand in support of our undocumented students, faculty and staff,” Armstrong said in the email. “Cal Poly leadership will continue to ensure that the university remains a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for every member of our campus community.”
Armstrong emphasized the importance of Dreamers and how they have impacted this country.
“When DACA was implemented, Dreamers openly divulged their status in exchange for an opportunity to work toward legal citizenship,” Armstrong said. “They have contributed greatly to this country and represent a massive resource of talent. While we can’t begin to understand the emotions and impact this action has on Dreamers, our hearts go out to them and we stand with them in our extreme disappointment.”
Associated Students, Inc. President Riley Nilsen addressed the Cal Poly community in a letter supporting students who will be affected by the rescission of DACA.
“I hope that now, more than ever, we can ride high with our undocumented students who are faced with uncertainty and support our students in their time of need,” Nilsen, an agricultural sciences senior, said.