A nationwide day of action to fight for the Dream Act was held on March 5, with Muslim students participating in both Washington DC and Racine.
Over 16,000 young immigrants have lost protection from deportation since Trump ended DACA, in September 2017. DACA was due to expire on March 5, but federal courts intervened and issued rulings that temporarily blocked President Donald Trump from ending the program that offers protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as children.
Traffic at the intersection of 6th and Main Streets came to a halt for a quarter hour on March 5 as protesters in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) demanded a resolution from House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The focus of action in Wisconsin took place at Monument Square in Racine, just down the street from Speaker Ryan’s office. A total of 23 community members blocked the street in an act of civil disobedience to demand that Speaker Ryan allow a vote on a clean Dream Act.
“We took bold action to raise the pressure on Paul Ryan,” said Luís Tapia, 16, a high school junior from Racine. “Six months ago, I was going to apply for DACA, but then Trump took that chance away from me and millions of others. Now many of my friends and neighbors are losing their protections. On this national day of action, thousands of people around the country are standing in support of immigrant youth. My family, my friends, and I deserve a permanent legislative solution that allows us to stay and continue to contribute to this place we call home. We need the clean Dream Act now.”
The demonstration included about 200 students who walked out of classes from Riverside, South Division, and Reagan High Schools in Milwaukee, and were joined by students from Racine Horlick High School. Several South Division students that walked out of school were wearing shirts that read “Muslim & Proud” on them.
Among those arrested were State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa and Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West. Two Democratic challengers to Speaker Ryan’s seat in the November election were also taken into custody, Randy Bryce of Caledonia, and Cathy Myers of Janesville.
Concurrent to the Racine effort, more than one hundred Muslims took part in the peaceful protest outside of Speaker Ryan’s Office in Washington DC. A number of the Muslim leaders were arrested as well, including Nihad Awad, Linda Sarsour and Omar Suleiman.
Ryan’s Racine office was closed during the protest due to security concerns. A spokesman for the Speaker released a statement after the protest.
Voces de la Frontera started an online Crowdfunding campaign to help the 23 community leaders arrested during the Racine protest to pay the fines for their Dream Act Civil Disobedience.