Students at Loyola University staged a walk-out Tuesday in response to President Donald Trump's decision to end the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
“At this point it’s not about politics, it’s about human dignity and human rights," said Loyola sophmore Kayla McGovern. "These are people. They aren’t just politics.”
For many the announcement came as little surprise. Still after two years of living without the burden of constantly looking over their shoulders--the fear has returned. Hundreds of thousands of people now have to ponder what comes next.
The Obama-era policy enacted in 2012 provided a legal reprieve for young undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children. It allowed them to work and study if they satisfied federal requirements.
"It’s time that we realize that we’re not here for the sins of our parents," said senior Maribel Florez. "In fact, we’re here because of the sins of this country.”
Carrying a sign, Florez says she was inspired to see the support that came from her fellow classmates.
“It was absolutely amazing to see the community that was formed around this issue today," she said.
Erendira Rendon was brought into the country when she was just 4-years-old. She’s one of the estimated 800,000 people living in the United States with DACA status now in limbo.
“[I] grew up in a small town in northern Illinois, went to the university of Illinois in Champaign--all before DACA," Rendon said. "Graduated in 2008 and lived four years as an undocumented adult.”
For the last seven years she’s worked at the Resurrection Project, an advocacy group for immigrant rights, in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.
“I feel like I started feeling much more stable--like I could stay here--no one was going to harm me," she said. "I think that’s all gone. I think all of those feelings are gone.”
Activists like Laura Mendoza, also with the Resurrection Project, worked Tuesday on launching a rapid response for those concerned about what the DACA announcement could mean mean for them.
“We fought really hard to get DACA so, we’ll just have to put that energy into making sure that we’re able to pass a more stable legislation that will provide benefits for a lot more people," she said.
The Resurrection Project says it will be providing counseling and legal advice in DACA informational workshops to be held every Tuesday evening through September.