About two dozen people on Wednesday protested President Donald Trump’s decision on DACA.
They gathered outside of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson’s Bellefonte office to stand in solidarity with DACA recipients, said Christine O’Donovan-Zavada, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates grassroots organizer for Centre County.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which protects young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation as they work or go to school — will end in six months, according to the Associated Press.
Across the commonwealth, protests organized by #PaResist, a coalition of organizations, were slated to take place at the offices of 16 members of Congress.
Never miss a local story.
O’Donovan-Zavada said protesters hope that Thompson, R-Howard Township, and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will work to pass the Dream Act so that people who have been living in the U.S. most of their lives will be allowed to stay.
“Those are our fellow students,” she said. “Those are our community members. They’re incredibly important and integral parts of our communities. And it’s so important that they are protected.”
Almost 6,000 DACA recipients live in Pennsylvania, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“Those individuals who were brought here as children, through no fault of their own, know no other country but the United States,” Thompson said in a statement. “Those who contribute to society and the economy should not be deported.”
He said those who do not follow the law, though, should be immediately removed from the country.
Thompson said immigration reform is overdue.
“I look forward to working with members on both sides of aisle and the administration to fix our immigration system, restore the rule of law and ensure that America remains the beacon of light for so many people seeking peace, freedom and prosperity,” he said.
Michael Ozaki, associate pastor at State College Presbyterian Church, said he was demonstrating not only in hopes of reaching out to his representatives but also to support those who couldn’t be there because they’re afraid of what could happen to them.
“That’s OK — there’s those of us who are willing to be out here for them to say and to represent that they’re there and they can’t be ignored,” Ozaki said.