main banner

Sunday, November 22, 2015

March to White House focuses on immigration relief

Local immigrant rights groups led a march from Arlington Courthouse Plaza to the White House Nov. 20 to urge the federal government to support policies to allow eligible immigrants to stay and work in the United States without fear of deportation.

The march commemorated the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s announcement to expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and establish a new policy on Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

The march was part of a coordinated nationwide effort to demonstrate the urgent need for relief for millions of families from the Latino, Asian American, and broader immigrant community who live in fear of deportation.

DACA enables eligible youths brought to the U.S. as children to attend college and get work permits and driver’s licenses. It’s not a path to citizenship, as some opponents of the program allege.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month upheld a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of DAPA and the expanded DACA, so the immigrant community is urging the Supreme Court to take up this case as soon as possible.

If the Supreme Court allows these programs to take effect, an estimated 90,000 immigrants in Virginia alone would be able to live, work, study, and stay with their families in the communities and country they call home. About 5 million people would be affected nationwide.

Despite the President’s efforts to provide relief for millions of immigrants, “an  unacceptable number of deportations are still happening,” said Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, chair of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO). “We demand that President Obama put an end to deportations and keep families together, and we urge the Obama Administration to appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the 5th Circuit decision.”

“We have seen first-hand how the current DACA program has benefited young people in Virginia and across the country,” said Dong Yoon Kim, program director at the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium. NAKASEC hosted a free clinic after the march at its offices in Annandale to help youths apply for DACA.

Young immigrants advocating for DACA are known as “DREAMers,” reflecting the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which was introduced in Congress several years ago. That legislation failed to pass, but the name stuck. President Obama implemented DACA by executive action in 2012.

In addition to NAKASEC and VACLAO, other organizations that participated in the march include Mason DREAMers, DREAMers of Virginia, DREAMers of Martinsville, DREAMers Mothers in Action, the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program, Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region, Just Neighbors, and the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network.


  1. Why doesn't anyone ever consider this issue from the perspective of the legion of foreigners patiently waiting their turn to legally enter the United States? Instead, the focus remains on illegals who are asserting their "rights" to remain in the U.S. almost exclusively because they've evaded deportation for long periods of time. What they're actually doing is presuming on the better nature of this country and its citizens. The only reason they're still here is because the government has been too magnanimous to root them out and deport them en masse. Judging by the statements reported in this article, it's clear that these "rights" advocates still don't understand how deeply offensive the presence of so many illegal aliens is to many Americans. While the Obama administration may find it politically expedient to create loopholes to keep them here, they're still lawbreakers. So, instead of making demands, it's time for them to pack.

    1. While I totally agree with you that it is not fair to the people who wait in line to do the process legally I am not sure just booting people out now is fair.

      It is the obligation of the United States to control its borders. The fact that the United States has not done this for so long may have in fact given people the idea that we did not care. Also I believe that if you do not enforce laws they can go away.

      I am disgusted by people who are breaking the law making demands though.

      This is a very complex issue for me.