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As Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments On DACA, Advocates Rally In Fresno

Monica Velez
Valley Public Radio
Immigration activists rallied in downtown Fresno Tuesday in support of DACA.

About two dozen people rallied in downtown Fresno Tuesday in support of the nationwide #RiseForDACA and #HomeIsHere campaign. 


The rally was in response to the start of oral arguments the Supreme Court heard in the case brought by the Trump Administration to end DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The Obama-era program gives people brought to the U.S. as children work permits and protection from deportation. 


Fresno resident America Hernandez spoke during the rally in front of the Robert E. Coyle Federal Building. Her parents brought her to the U.S. when she was just 3 months old and she has legal status because of DACA, the college graduate and activist said.


“I have done everything I’m supposed to,” Hernandez said. “I pay my taxes, I’m a homeowner I am a part of a philanthropic movement that contributes back to the community.”


Fresno Councilmember Esmeralda Soria said DACA is a personal issue for her. She said she has family, friends, and staff that all depend on DACA.


Credit Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio
Fresno Council members Esmeralda Soria and Miguel Arias joined immigration activists in downtown Fresno Tuesday to rally in support of DACA.

“I have seen it up intimately how this issue and how the uncertainty has impacted the lives of people that continue to be in limbo,” Soria said.


The uncertainty of DACA has affected people’s well being and mental health, Soria said, because of the fear they’ll be deported and separated from their families. Soria, who is running for Congress to represent District 16, said DACA recipients are entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, and farm workers. 


“The Central Valley’s economy wouldn’t be what it is, our ag economy wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for immigrants,” Soria said. “Undocumented immigrants, yes.”


There are more than 700,000 Dreamers across the country.


Councilmember Miguel Arias also spoke at the rally and said DACA recipients were brought here at through no fault of their own. He said many Dreamers are leaders in their communities, have careers, an education, and have stayed out of trouble. 


“They’ve done what we asked of them. It's now our responsibility to do for them what’s right, which is find a legal path” to citizenship, Arias said.


In September, the Fresno City Council joined more than 40 other cities across the country in a legal brief supporting DACA cases going before the Supreme Court.


The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the future of DACA next year.

Monica Velez was a reporter at Valley Public Radio. She started out as a print reporter covering health issues in Merced County at the Merced Sun-Star.