DACA rally supports local recipients
Empathy is a defining characteristic of Daniela Rodriguez. The 5th-year senior, majoring in psychology at Armstrong State University (ASU), has always looked for ways to support and encourage her friends and fellow students.
Last month, working with SUYA (a grassroots collective of undocumented youth who live in the Savannah area) as well as a Latino fraternity and sorority, Rodriguez organized “Savannah Stands With DACA”
“On September 5th, President Trump began phasing out DACA and gave Congress six months to pass a more permanent solution,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to show Savannah that DACA recipients are not some invisible group. They live and work right here in this community. We stand with them and it is time to make our voices heard.”
Moderated by Rodriguez, the rally was held outdoors on the steps of the university's student union center.
“We had a really good attendance with a mix of students as well as people from the surrounding communities,” Rodriguez said. “Our speakers included DACA students who told the audience how much DACA had changed their lives for the better. SUYA advisor Tom Kohler, ASU professor, Jane Rago, and student counselor, Ruth Duran-Deffley, also spoke out in support of our efforts.
“DACA has allowed college students to apply for jobs in their field of study both while in college and upon graduation,” Duran-Deffley said. “It has allowed them to work in the profession that they chose, putting to use all the education they obtained. A student who spoke at the rally, Laura Gonzalez, talked about how thanks to DACA she was able to apply for a teaching internship at a public school. Without a social security number, she wouldn't have been able to apply. She wants to become a math teacher and is currently in her last semester at Armstrong.”
Duran-Deffley offered a grim reminder of what DACA recipients stand to lose if immigration laws are not reformed.
“If DACA is taken away next year, the recipients will no longer be able to apply for jobs in the United States,” she said. “Some fear that ICE might come after them and their families as the government now has all their personal information. There is the potential of deportation. None of them will be able to work legally in the US, invalidating their ability to use their college education in this country. Many don't know their families in Mexico, Central and South America, so leaving the US is not really an option. They would be forced to move back into the shadows.”
Daniela Rodriguez plans to organize similar events in the near future.
“We can't just sit back and wait to see what will happen 6 months from now,” she said. “We need to call our Congressman, Buddy Carter today and urge him to support the 2017 version of the DREAM Act.”
Carter's Savannah staff can be reached at 912-352-0105 or in Brunswick at 912- 265-9013. Text RESIST to 50409 and it will allow you to send a fax via text to your US senators.