MILWAUKEE — As the Supreme Court takes on the decision for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), demonstrators in Milwaukee joined the thousands of others participating across the country Tuesday.
Outside of the Federal Courthouse, students of all backgrounds marched through the bitter cold to support the program to help people who were brought to America as children.
"I remember what it was like graduating as an undocumented student," Alejandra Gonzalez, lead youth organizer for the Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES!) group said. "There was a lot of depression, anxiety and uncertainty. I don't want them to have to go through that."
Gonzalez has been a DACA recipient for six years now. She is well on her way to graduating from Alverno College. However, she and the nearly eight thousand DACA recipients in Wisconsin fear their American dreams could be dashed if the program is rescinded.
"DACA helps me work," Tania Chavez, a senior from Horlick High School said. "It helps me to get a license to drive them around. We're not bad people staying here. We're good people. I know a lot of DACA recipients. They don't do anything illegal. They just want to live life like the rest. I think we personally deserve citizenship here."
Chavez is a recent DACA recipient. Because she was brought to this country at two-years-old. She says America is all she knows. So losing DACA would be detrimental for her life.
"It's living with fear you know?" Chavez said. "That's an awful thing. Not knowing what's going to happen next. Any day, they could come into my house, my parents could be taken away. It's a waiting game to see what's next."
While there were plenty of DACA recipients in the group, there were also people there with no direct ties to DACA. So if DACA goes away, it will likely have little true impact on their lives. It didn't stop them from sharing their feelings Tuesday.
"It just tears out my heart that in this country, a country founded by immigrants, they're attacking them when they're supposed to be supporting them," Nadxely Sanchez, a Marquette freshman said.
"They've been here since they were babies," Katherine Villanueva, a sophomore at the Milwaukee School of Languages said. "Some of them don't even remember what it was like to live outside of the United States."
In a statement, the Republican Party of Wisconsin writes:
"President Trump has made it clear that he wants to work with Democrats to ensure that those covered by DACA can stay in the United States. If the left was serious about getting to a solution, a compromise could no doubt reached. The Trump Administration sought to roll back DACA because the program amounts to executive overreach by the Obama Administration. If Democrats believe the Obama Administration had the authority to implement DACA through executive order, then the Trump Administration should have the power to roll back the executive order without a fight over technicalities."
A final decision on DACA is expected in June of 2020.