Scores of immigrant-rights activists were arrested this afternoon after taking over the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, and Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition co-executive director Stephanie Teatro was among them.
The organization sent out an email to supporters from Teatro shortly after 2 p.m. with the subject line “I was just arrested for the DREAM Act.”
“It’s been three months since the president terminated the DACA program,” writes Teatro. “Already more than 11,000 DACA recipients have lost their status, their ability to work and their protection from deportation. Every day that Congress fails to take action another 122 immigrant youth lose their DACA. This is a crisis.
“That’s why more than 10,000 immigrant youth and allies just held a powerful rally in Washington, D.C.,” she continues, “and I was just arrested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with hundreds of others.”
It’s not yet clear how many people were arrested or what they’ve been charged with.
In September, President Donald Trump announced his decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that kept undocumented immigrants who’d been brought to the United States as children from being deported. At the same time, Trump called on Congress to pass legislation to replace the program. In the months since, activists have been urging lawmakers to pass the DREAM Act, which would create a path to permanent residency for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as minors.
Teatro spoke to the Scene ahead of the rally Wednesday morning, where she as many as 200 others were planning to risk arrest.
“There’s sort of a quieter crisis that’s happening right now,” Teatro told us. “A lot of people falsely believe that Trump gave Congress until March and that they have all of this time to figure out a solution. But already more than 11,000 DACA recipients have lost their status and another 122 people are losing their status every single day. So it is urgent. It is a crisis.”
By Steve Hale for NASHIVILLE SCENE
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