Youth groups celebrate halt of SB 4, defend DACA at rally


Highlights

About 150 people gathered Friday at the Capitol for a youth rally against hate.

A youth rally Friday defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

When the 10:30 a.m. bell rang at Lanier High School on Friday, senior Kimberly Reyes walked out of school to join more than 150 people who gathered at the Capitol for a “Youth Rally Against Hate.”

While the rally celebrated a court decision to halt Senate Bill 4, the controversial “sanctuary cities” ban, it also defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives legal protection to young immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents.

“It’s overwhelming to think that if DACA is eliminated, I may be the one who will have to take care of my younger siblings,” Reyes, 17, said. “So I’m marching for my immigrant family members who don’t have a voice for themselves.”

About 20 University of Texas students also walked out of class to join the rally organized by the Latino civic engagement group Jolt in collaboration with Youth Rise Texas and other student groups. The UT marchers reported that one of their students had been arrested on their way to the rally and was being held at the Travis County Jail. They left the rally shortly after arriving and marched to the jail.

Some high school students and their teachers participated in the rally, which also incorporated music, art and voter registration. Lehman High School teacher David Abdell brought a group of 25 students to the event. “So much of what we learn in history is political discourse,” he said. “Bringing the students gives them a better understanding of organizing and they could see it here firsthand.”

RELATED: Paxton appeals order barring ‘sanctuary cities’ ban

About eight San Antonio students from a “Youth Activists for Change” class at KIPP University Prep High School also participated. For most, it was their first experience at a rally.

“As a teenage female of color, it’s hard to feel as if I have a voice,” said 16-year-old Martina Barrera. “We’re the future. Our opinions should matter.”

President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision soon on the future of the DACA program. He faces a Tuesday deadline set by a group of Republican lawmakers from Texas and nine other states who have threatened to challenge the program in court if Trump doesn’t end it by then.

Trump made a campaign promise to end one of former President Barack Obama’s signature initiatives and also made a pledge after Inauguration Day to treat those immigrants with “great heart.”

In late June, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and GOP officials from nine other states issued a letter threatening to sue the Trump administration unless it did away with DACA.

For Daniela Rojas, a member of the Jolt UT student chapter and an organizer with the group, the future seems uncertain. As a DACA status recipient since 2012, she said her family hasn’t figured out what would happen if the program is phased out.

“It’s a scary time,” she said.

RELATED: Pakistani DACA recipient hoping dreams aren’t dashed



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Packed town hall showcases finalists for Austin Public Health director
Packed town hall showcases finalists for Austin Public Health director

A town hall Wednesday night showcased the two finalists running to become Austin Public Health’s next director. Stephanie Hayden, the current interim director, and Dr. Philip Huang, with the department’s Disease Prevention and health Promotion Division, are the two remaining candidates vying to lead the department that manages a variety...
Austin police seek help finding missing woman, 79
Austin police seek help finding missing woman, 79

Austin police are asking for the public’s help in finding a 79-year-old woman that went missing in North Austin.  Herminia Gomez was last seen Wednesday about 1:30 p.m. near the 300 block of Home Place, officials said. She was driving a 2005 Gray Ford Taurus with Texas license plates CK8-D660.  Gomez is about 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs...
Texas Democrats see big jump in turnout on first day of early voting

In the state’s 15 counties with the most registered voters, 51 percent more Democrats voted Tuesday, the first day of early voting for the party’s March 6 primary, than voted on the first day of early of voting for the 2014 Democratic primary. Meanwhile, the number of Republican primary voters on Tuesday increased by just 16 percent in...
Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?
Will Abbott take advice on Whitaker’s death sentence?

Whether Gov. Greg Abbott spares death row inmate Thomas Whitaker from Thursday evening’s scheduled execution could hinge on how much trust the governor places on the group of advisers who recommended mercy in the case. Spurred by the father who Whitaker tried to have killed in 2003, all seven members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles supported...
Austin police ID man killed in Monday shooting, name officers involved

Austin police have identified a man who was fatally shot during an officer-involved shooting on Monday as 23-year-old Thomas Vincent Alvarez. Police also named seven officers who were placed on administrative leave after opening fire on Alvarez as Matthew Henion, DeAndre Wright, Nicholas Grebhart, Benjamin Rogers, Robert Brady, Rafael Rosales and Khristof...
More Stories