Bronchos Rally for DACA

Bronchos Rally for DACA

Dozens of University of Central Oklahoma Students gather under the blue tent by Broncho Lake to support the young immigrants who will be affected by the phasing out of DACA (Cara Johnson/ The Vista)

Dozens of students, faculty and staff rallied outside of the Nigh University Center yesterday in support of the thousands of young immigrants impacted by the Trump administration’s efforts to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act.

The rally, hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma’s Hispanic American Student Association, included speakers from the local community, as well as UCO students and faculty members who spoke out both in support of the DACA program and of young immigrants in pursuing an education.

“It is essential that our diverse communities are educated. That they use their intellect, passion and creativity to positively give back to their communities. And that is exactly what DACA students desire to do,” said MeShawn Conley, Director of UCO’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “They want to use their intellect, passion and creativity to better themselves, their families, our communities and our society and how can we not support that?”

The rally comes one week after the Trump administration announced its plan to end DACA, a program enacted under President Obama that provides protection from deportation to immigrant youths that were brought as children to the United States.

Under the plan, the administration has stopped accepting new DACA applicants, but will allow current DACA recipients whose permits are set to expire before March 5, 2018, the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal.

“Whenever I was hearing about the action that was being taken, the first thing that I thought was what if this was me, what if it was my parents that had brought me into this country and I didn’t have a choice or a say in it, and then I was told by my government that I might not be protected when America is my only home,” said Stockton Duvall, president of UCO’s Student Association.

Attendees also had the opportunity to sign postcards asking for state and local representatives to speak out in support of the DACA program.

“It’s important that we are contacting all of our representatives and legislators and telling them your story, your friend’s story, your family’s story. Because that’s where change is going to happen,” said Duvall.

Postcards will continue to be present at HASA events throughout the semester and postcards will also be available to sign in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Nigh University Center, according to HASA Vice President Thalia Rodriguez.

“We had a great turnout for the rally. I’m so overwhelmed with joy and I’m so happy to know that I have the support of my peers and of my community. I want to give a big thanks to all of our speakers,” said Salvador Arcivar, HASA president.

The rally is one of several events planned by HASA that focuses on awareness for DACA and immigration issues. The next event is an informational and educational forum on immigration featuring Angelica Villalobos with Dream Act OKC and Tracy Morales, former director of Aspiring Americans, on Sept. 19 from 12:30–1:30 p.m.

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