Students and community members march toward the Ezra Cornell statue on the Arts Quad at the Cornell DREAM Team's protest against the recision of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this week, September 8th, 2017.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Students and community members march toward the Ezra Cornell statue on the Arts Quad at the Cornell DREAM Team's protest against the recision of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this week, September 8th, 2017.

September 8, 2017

Cornellians Rally Against Removal of DACA

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Students, faculty and administrators stood in solidarity on the Arts Quad to defend immigrants and demand justice in light of President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The rally began with a series of chants about defending immigrants and demanding justice in the system. Organizers from the Dream Team also handed out butterfly figures — a symbol of migration and the resilience of immigrants.

Mayra Valadez '18 hands out butterfly signage at the Cornell DREAM Team's protest against the recision of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this week, September 8th, 2017.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Mayra Valadez ’18 hands out butterfly figures symbolizing the resilience of immigrants.

Following the chants, six speakers representing students, professors and professionals spoke about the implications of the removal of DACA.

Carolina Osorio-Gil ’05, Latina/o Studies Engagement Coordinator and District 3 candidate, shared her story as an immigrant and urged students to get involved in local politics in order to fight injustice and insisted that immigrants should have a place in the U.S.

“Here we are fighting for our DACA brothers and sisters, and I stand in full support of you,” Osorio-Gil said. “I was undocumented, and I am the same person. I believe no human being is illegal.”

The speakers went on to emphasize that the criminalization of immigrants has serious social implications that is manifested in a variety of ways. They also commented that without DACA, many students who have been receiving financial aid at universities like Cornell based on their DACA status will be in need of help.

Prof. Russell Rickford, history, speaks to demonstrators at the Cornell DREAM Team's protest against the recision of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this week, September 8th, 2017.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Prof. Russell Rickford, history, speaks to demonstrators at the rally against the president’s decision to remove DACA.

Prof. Russell Rickford, history, pointed out that “sometimes up here on the hill we wind up alienated from ourselves and from our roots.”

He then urged the crowd to see every citizen as equal and united. Rickford led the crowd in a heated chant — “We have a duty to fight for our freedom. We have a duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” The chant progressively got louder.

Following the impassioned yells, Rickford more solemnly directed his attention toward explanations of the current political strife.

“The system cannot function without defining certain people as outsiders,” Rickford said. “The assault on immigrants and undocumented people has become a far more visible aspect of what I call the racial hunt.”

The attendants of the rally responded to impassioned statements with snaps and yells of agreement.

Nicole Garcia ’20 participated in the rally because she has friends and family members who are in the U.S. because of DACA. Garcia said that having the rally on Cornell’s campus is encouraging but a more open dialogue needs to start.

Students and community members march up Ho Plaza at the Cornell DREAM Team's protest against the recision of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this week, September 8th, 2017.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Students and community members march up Ho Plaza to protest the phasing out of DACA.

“I feel like there’s a lot less understanding because there are a lot of people who are not open minded and are kind of just like ‘they’re immigrants, so get them out’ and that’s not how anyone should look at this, especially since we’re all people,” Garcia said. “People need to ask more questions about things they don’t understand. I feel like that’s the main issue in the dialogue surrounding this whole situation. People don’t know so instead of asking they’re just attacking.”

Following the speakers, there was a call to support the Dreamers Act, a legislative bill that would provide full protection to undocumented immigrants who came here as children. The Dream Team was also passing out information packets for undocumented students.

The rally came to a passionate close as the participants chanted in solidarity “Dreamers stay, dreamers fight, education is a right.”

  • George Glass

    “He then urged the crowd to see every citizen as equal and united.”

    Isn’t the whole point that these “Dreamers” aren’t citizens???

  • George Glass

    What part of a nation putting its own people first do you idiots not understand? Or do you just pretend to not understand this concept? Do Americans illegally enter China or Japan and start demanding free stuff? Try it and see what happens to you. You’ll end up imprisoned or executed.

  • George Glass

    That march looks like a zombie horde: everyone looks so sickly and ashen. Unreal.

  • George Glass

    Again, only White people are expected to follow rules like immigration law. Apparently, the concept of being “law-abiding” is unique to White people.

  • Sabe_Moya

    When I first read the headline, I thought I read “Comedians Rally Against Removal of DACA.”

  • Jay Wind

    As a political statement, the rally was diffused and ineffective. Congress has been unable to enact legislation since 2008 to fix the DACA problem. That is why as a last resort, President Obama took executive action. The organizers should have geared the rally toward writing letters and making phone calls to Congress.

    I agree that respecting the law is an important value, and I find the contrast between the immigration laws and the drinking age law shocking. On the one hand, President Pollack, some faculty and administration are all demanding changes in the immigration law to bring these “dreamers” into a legal status. On the other hand, they are going to great lengths to stop underage drinking in the Cornell campus, driving Cornell parties underground,

    There are many more Cornellians that would be made legal by lowering the drinking age than would be by addressing DACA. Why not hold rallies and lobby the General Assembly to lower the drinking age? (A byproduct would be to lower the large number of undocumented aliens currently being deported that are involved in alcohol-related offenses.) Neither DACA nor criminalization of underage drinking fit current community standards. Why not mobilize to legalize both?

  • Ezra Tank

    President Trump only ended the illegal executive order that President Obama started. I love how the Sun loves to hate Trump but he did his job correctly. He sent it back to Congress to be decided which is where President Obama should have sent it in the first place. But President Obama knew Congress would never approve and acted as a King. I know a lot of snowflakes attending Cornell do not understand how our Government is supposed to work but instead of protesting perhaps they could read the Constitution.

    “I feel like there’s a lot less understanding because there are a lot of
    people who are not open minded and are kind of just like ‘they’re
    immigrants, so get them out’ and that’s not how anyone should look at
    this, especially since we’re all people,” Garcia said. “People need to
    ask more questions about things they don’t understand. I feel like
    that’s the main issue in the dialogue surrounding this whole situation.
    People don’t know so instead of asking they’re just attacking.”

    Sorry Ms. Garcia, these people are not immigrants. They are ILLEGAL immigrants. You need to ask more questions like the difference between a LEGAL immigrant and an ILLEGAL immigrant. Do you think you can just pick up and move to Australia, France or any other country without first legally applying for citizenship?

    You see Ms. Garcia I pay these things called PROPERTY taxes. I pay quite a bit actually. These taxes cover school taxes that these Dreamers got to use for absolutely FREE. So you see I’ve already paid for their free education in K-12. How about they apply for citizenship and then start contributing as well if they get accepted.

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