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Tucson rallies hundreds to defend DACA

By staff |
September 10, 2017
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Protest in Tucson, AZ against attack on DACA.
Protest in Tucson, AZ against attack on DACA. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Tucson, AZ - The decision made by Trump on Sept. 5 to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program saw numerous mass mobilizations nationwide. The people of Tucson joined the latest wave of the growing resistance to the Trump administration.

Several immigrant rights groups in Tucson came together to defend DACA. On August 29, the groups LUCHA (Living United for Change in Arizona), LUPE (Lucha Unida de Padres y Estudiantes), Scholarships-AZ, and Mariposas Sin Fronteras held a press conference on the steps of the Tucson City Hall building.

“DACA is under attack by extremist right-wing elected officials, who are talking about dismantling the DACA program within the next couple of days, or within the next couple of hours,” said Jessica Rodriguez, organizer for LUCHA and LUPE. There were several speakers at the press conference who spoke of the racist actions of the current president. That list did not have to go far back, as they included Trump’s recent pardon of Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, and his actions after the white supremacist rally and terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. The center of the discussion, however, was on the president, and the community’s resolve to fight and defend DACA and all immigrants.

Activist Fernando Najera stated “If Mr. Trump decides to rescind DACA, the joy his base will feel would be overshadowed by the roar of the masses, our allies. We will fight, not for those who are labeled ‘good immigrants’, but for all of us, who have been forced to live in the shadows, for all of us who are faceless.”

Tuesday afternoon, Sept 5., saw over 100 high school student walk out in protest of the DACA decision and join a rally of 200 people at the University of Arizona. The overwhelming majority of these students were Chicanas and Chicanos, Mexicanos, and Latino students who have felt the attacks of this president and his reactionary base.

The next day, Sept. 6, a rally, followed by a march downtown to city hall, demanded the mayor and city council declare Tucson a sanctuary city and implement policies that protect Dreamers, their families and the undocumented community in general. The demands specified that the city police department not collaborate with Border Patrol even though the city says that is already their policy.

As the speakers and the crowd of over 600 roared in their energetic chants, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild came out flanked by two police officers. After organizers agreed to let him speak, the mayor read verbatim from a prepared statement released earlier that day. The crowd immediately burst into boos and jeers reacting to the mayor’s out-of-touch statement that did not reflect a sensitivity to the demands supported by the Dreamers and their allies. Then the chant: “Sanctuary city now!” erupted from the crowd and the mayor scurried off the stage, retreating back to his office.

“This was the most powerful protest I've ever been to,” said Santiago Molina, local activist. “This country is building a fighting spirit focused on unity and defeating white supremacy.” He added, “As sister Assata Shakur said: ‘It is our duty to win.’”