Hundreds of people rallied Saturday outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City to protest the Trump administration’s decision to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.
The protesters on Saturday waved signs that read “No one is illegal” and “Immigrants welcome” and chanted “Deport Donald Trump” and “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced the end of an administrative order initiated by former President Barack Obama that allows some immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children to stay.
Many of those attending the rally said they have benefited from the program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Sandra Silva, 28, an interior designer who lives in Queens, said she came to the United States from Mexico when she was 12 and has lived in New York since. She cleaned houses and worked in a restaurant 40 hours a week to pay for a degree in architecture at City College.
“When DACA happened, it opened up opportunities for me,” Silva said. “I was able to work in something I went to school for.”
She said she was angered by the decision to end the program because she went through a lot to get a good job. She added, “We’re not here to steal anyone’s job, we’re here to create jobs.”
Susan Puma, 26, wore a white baseball hat with the seal of the president of the United States on it and waved an American flag.
“I’m very American but I’m very proud of my roots,” Puma said. “If I’m deported, my identity is taken away from me.”
Puma emigrated illegally with her family from Ecuador when she was 5 years old. She now works as a finance associate for a tech company. She said she’s determined to stay in the U.S. and hopes Congress will act to protect people like her.