Austin, TX – Today, six community members were arrested while putting their bodies on the line to defend 800,000 youth immigrants who are being put in imminent danger by TX Attorney General Ken Paxton’s threat to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA).
Today, immigrant youth and allies from across the state took to the streets of Austin as part of a nationwide movement to defend the DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs, and expose the mass deportation agendas of political opportunists like Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton has threatened to block the DACA program through an anti-immigrant judge by September 5th if Trump doesn’t kill the program. Paxton’s hateful action would leave nearly 1,000,000 young immigrants without a livelihood and put them in immediate risk of deportation.
Courageous DACA Defenders, United We Dream members and allies were just arrested for staging a sit in at Ken Paxton’s office just minutes ago. They include: Alice Serna-McDougald, Ken Zarifis, Rachel Hassell, Montserrat Garibay, Chris Wager Saldívar and Patrick Harvey.
Damaris Gonzalez, an undocumented immigrant with DACA, and leader with United We Dream Houston said:
“I recently confronted Ken Paxton at a Houston fundraiser holding him accountable for his threats to DACA. Today, we brought our defense of DACA to his office as we marched on the 5th anniversary of our victorious fight for DACA because we will never back down. We demanded that Paxton withdraw his hypocritical and heartless threats to DACA.
“I hope that everyone with DACA, every Texan of conscience, and all people who care about immigrants, people of color in our state, and the future of this country rise up and say enough is enough. We must continue to expose Ken Paxton for his attacks on our humanity, This is our home, and we’re not going anywhere — we are here to stay!”
Carolina is a 25 year old undocumented immigrant from Austin with DACA whose husband was deported this past weekend, said:
“Saturday, my sister, my 7-year-old daughter, and I witnessed my husband Francisco being racially profiled, arrested, detained, and deported because of a traffic stop. We were on our way to enjoy our first family vacation, but this police officer pulled us over and acted quickly to deport my husband. At the start of this summer, Republicans passed a racist law called SB 4 that will enable racial profiling and allow local police to work as deportation agents in order to drive us out. The terror and racism that SB 4 is promoting is what caused my husband to not be here with me and our daughter today.
“Our Attorney General Ken Paxton also wants to end DACA in less than 20 days. DACA is a program that has allowed me to provide for my family and offered us physical and emotional security. I am undocumented and unafraid, and today I am speaking out because today this is my fight, and this is our fight.
“It is up to people like me and you, and my family to build up our power as a community, to know that our voices and our stories matter. We must organize so that the people who represent us pass policies that protect our people. Today I commit to defy SB 4 and DEFEND DACA!”
Paola Rodriguez is 23 years old, a DACAmented worker, daughter, mother, and member of the Workers Defense Project. Paola has been fiercely fighting against SB 4 and ICE raids in Austin. She said:
“I am a DACA recipient and thanks to DACA I was able to obtain a better job with good wages and opportunities that have allowed me to excel to become a stronger woman, mother, and community member.
“Earlier this year, my community was raided, my neighbors taken away – and my family and I knew that we had to fight back against ICE, SB 4, Trump, and hate. Our families will fight for dignity and respect porque somos humanos!”
Yunuen Alvarado, a DACA beneficiary and leader with University Leadership Initiative, said,
“DACA made me feel normal for once. It meant I could work; it meant I could get a driver’s license; it meant I could go to school without fear for once in my life. It meant that for once, I could finally, finally protect my mom.
“I’m here today because I have learned the power of my voice to create change, I’ve learned that my voice is powerful and I invite all of you to rise up against those that want to harm our community. We’re not going anywhere — we are here to stay.”
Actions across the country can be found at DefendDACA.com