Jessica SA

San Antonio activists rally for DACA protected immigrants: It’s their humanity that qualifies

Despite sobering news for many immigrants in San Antonio, activists said they were galvanized Tuesday night as about 200 people gathered in front of the federal courthouse to announce they would be fighting for permanent protection for so-called Dreamers.

Activists and public officials called for legislation that would offer a path to citizenship for young immigrants who don’t have legal status as well as comprehensive immigration reform.

Karen Torres, a St. Mary’s University student, said that after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, would be ending she was “devastated.” Her mother called her distraught, wondering what her future would be, Torres said.

“I came here at the age of five from Nogales, Sonora,” she said. “I love Mexico, I love my country, but I must admit that the United States has been more of a home for me than Mexico has ever been. And the fact that I have been labeled today as an illegal alien, as a criminal, really hurts me, because this is all I know. I am a human being, I am a student, and just as my peers I grew up with, I have a right to those basic privileges they have.”

Jonathan-David Jones from Black Lives Matter at the University of Texas at San Antonio spoke against what he said are “qualifications” given whenever a group is mistreated. He said those who defend DACA by pointing to its economic benefits are missing a broader point.

“We don’t want to qualify immigrants by saying, ‘they’re employees’ or ‘they pay taxes,'” he said. “It’s their humanity. It’s their humanity that qualifies.”

This story originally appeared 9/5/2017 in the San Antonio Express-News.