Kentuckians march downtown in support of Dreamers


Kentuckians march in downtown Lexington to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Photo by Rick Childress | Staff

Rick Childress

Hundreds gathered at the Fayette County Courthouse on Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s ending of an executive action that allows undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The protesters met at the courthouse, marched down Main Street and then back toward the courthouse via Short Street. Attendees chanted in English and Spanish as they paraded through the streets of downtown Lexington.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be phased out and will no longer be accepting applications. DACA allows young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country, find work and even go to college.

There is an unknown number of UK and BCTC students, known commonly as Dreamers, who are protected under DACA.

Gabriela Carreno-Serrada, a registered Dreamer, came to the United States when she was 4-years-old and said she calls the United States, “my home.”

“I wouldn’t have thought I could go into law school if it wasn’t for DACA,” Carreno-Serrada, a political science and international studies sophomore at BCTC, said.

“For now with DACA, I could get a job, I could pass background checks, I can do a lot of internships; I could have more of a possibility of succeeding,” Carreno-Serrada said. “It scares me to be undocumented again, but I’ll find a way. We always do.”

Andrew Ochoa, a psychology and international relations junior, is a member of the historically Latino-based Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity.

“Here in Lexington, the Latino population is pretty high. So, the fact that DACA is gone means that a lot of them aren’t going to go to college anymore,” Ochoa said. “A lot of them can’t get jobs anymore. They have to start living in fear that one day their parents are going to be gone and they might be gone too.”

DACA does not protect immigrants only from Latin America, but the vast majority of Dreamers are of Latino descent.

Nadia Almasalkhi, an international studies and modern and classical languages senior, works for a non-profit immigration attorney.

“I see the people, everyday, who are affected by this kind of policy,” Almasalkhi said. “I think [President Trump’s decision] makes education more inaccessible. It might force some people to drop out.”

President Trump has given Congress six months to pass new legislature to replace the program.

“Even though we contribute to the economy, that’s not all we are,” Carreno-Serrada said. “Remember that we are humans with hopes and dreams.”