Chanting “this is what Democracy looks like” and “undocumented and unafraid,” thousands of students across the U.S. walked out of their classes and schools in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is set to go before the Supreme Court next week, Nov. 12.
“The walk-outs, organized by members of United We Dream in the D.C. metro area, Chicago, Phoenix, Santa Cruz, and Oklahoma City,” the immigrant youth-led organization said in a statement, “put a face to the people whose lives will be impacted by the justices’ decision and to highlight that their home is here and they are here to stay.”
United We Dream noted that in Oklahoma City, the entirety of the public schools district walked out in support of DACA. In video shared by the organization, a huge crowd of high school students could be heard chanting “here to stay,” as they marched out of their school.
Outside the University of Oklahoma, DACA recipients pledged to fight. “For many years, our community, our immigrant community, has been silenced,” said Kevin, a freshman at OU. He’s one of two DACA recipients in his family. “For so long that, the government is used to our silence. I am here because that has to stop.”
So much of what 700,000 young people have worked for and achieved is at stake, and the future of the program now rests in the hands of the nine justices of the Supreme Court. In Washington, D.C., immigrant youth and their allies marched to the steps of the court to urge the justices to keep it in place.
“We are more than numbers. We are people with families, communities, and dreams,” said Anahi. Students also stressed the fact that it’s not just about those affected by DACA, it’s also about those who remain without protections.
Leidy Leon, a 17-year-old from Santa Cruz, could have become eligible to enroll in DACA when she turned 15, but was blocked because the administration had terminated the program. She was one of the thousands who walked on Friday.