WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Local activists hosted a rally in Old Town Saturday to show support for DACA recipients living in Kansas. Organizers for Saturday’s rally say 6,000 DACA recipients live in the Sunflower State. Some attendees of the protest say the imminent DACA decision not only affects their life, but also the future of their families.
One DACA recipient explained how she is coping with the uncertainty.
“I’ve tried not to think about it too much, but have tried thinking of what I could do to avoid that and help my fellow ‘Dreamers’ in the fight for our lives,” said Guadalupe Martinez, DACA recipient.
Many people in attendance for the protest say they feel their future has now been put on hold. KSN spoke with two DACA participants who just got back from protesting in Washington D.C. They say this new concern has given them a new perspective.
“Illegal status should not define who we are,” said Sarahi Aguilera.
However, if the Dream Act does not pass, it will define where thousands of undocumented immigrants will live. There have been a number of protests for and against the DACA program over the last year. Aguilera recalls her first D.C. protest experience this week saying, it showed her a new side to America.
“He said that all we do is steal their jobs. He flipped me off. I just started crying,” she said explaining her experience with an angry protester in D.C. “It has opened up my eyes to see how hate and racism is still exist in this country. We see it everyday, we saw it yesterday.”
Aguilera is 19 years old and a “Dreamer.” She tells KSN that she moved to America as a baby and now as a young adult, it’s all she knows.
Carolina Arango also flew to D.C. to protest but she says this is not her first time fighting.
“ICE raided my home when I was 12,” she explained. “We’ve been here since we were little and we don’t want to return to a country we don’t know. A work permit means we have an expiration date to what our future is going to be after that date.”
Saturday, both women joined 15 other DACA protesters in Wichita, to have their voices heard.
“The shutdown from last night is just another reason to keep on fighting and to not give up.”
Ending the DACA program overturns former president Barack Obama’s signature on immigration policy. The DACA program does still exist but a hold has been placed on all applications for the program.