On Saturday, the Arkansas United Community Coalition, an immigrants rights organization, is organizing a march from Central High School to the state Capitol in support of the Dreamers, the cohort of young immigrants who stand to lose protections under the soon-to-be rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
Here’s the Facebook event. The march will convene at Central at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and march toward the Capitol at 5.
The future of the Dreamers is unclear at the moment, with President Trump sending mixed signals on his willingness to work with Democrats to pass legislation that would give these young immigrants a pathway to legal status. As of Friday afternoon, the outlook for a legislative solution was hopeful but far from conclusive. As I wrote earlier this week, if a DACA replacement does stand a chance of passage, the support of rank-and-file Republican congressmen like Arkansas’s French Hill and Steve Womack could be key.
DACA, an Obama-era executive order, allows certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to obtain government ID (such as drivers licenses) and lawfully work, as long as they have clean criminal records and have obtained a high school diploma or GED, or are working towards one. There are an estimated 5,000 DACA recipients in Arkansas, and about 800,000 nationwide, many of them with families of their own. (It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of others are eligible for DACA but have not applied for the program.) The Trump administration announced on September 5 that it will begin phasing out the program starting in March, but the president has said he wants Congress to develop a legislative replacement to DACA.
AUCC is also organizing a march in Fayetteville on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. From its Facebook page:
In order to keep the pressure up on Congress, especially our AR delegation we are launching DREAM Project Marches: A series of 4 marches, one every month, in a different city in NWA to let our community and Congress no that we are not going down without a fight.
Fayetteville, you are first up. Join us on the corner of College Ave and Dickson St for a rally from 11:30am-12:30pm. We will then march to the Fayetteville square at 12:30pm before the Hispanic Heritage Festival Parade. We in no way want to insinuate that this is only a Latinx issue but wanted to take advantage of the crowd gathering for this celebration to continue growing our marches in Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville in the following months.