No More Waiting: Virginia Community Marches for Immigrant Families and an End to Deportations #Marchforfamilies #MarchforDAPA #VA4DAPA
ANNANDALE, VIRGINIA — Today, on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s announcement concerning Immigration Relief, namely the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents) and expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) initiatives, immigrant families and Virginia immigrant rights organizations march from the Arlington Courthouse Plaza to the White House. The march is part of coordinated nationwide effort to demonstrate the urgent need for relief for millions of families from the Latino, Asian American, and broader immigrant community, who live in fear of deportation.
With the recent 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold the preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA, the immigrant community turns to the Supreme Court to take up this case as soon as possible and give hard working immigrant families the chance to live, work, study, and stay with their families in this country they call home. An estimated 90,000 immigrants in Virginia alone would benefit from the DACA and DAPA programs.
Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, Chair of VACOLAO, said: “This march conveys the commemoration of the positive announcement by President Obama on immigration relief for five million immigrants (DAPA and expanded DACA), but at the same time we are marching because our community needs more. Despite the announcement an unacceptable number of deportations are still happenings, so today we demand that President Obama put an end to deportations and keep families together and we urge the Obama Administration to appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the 5th Circuit decision that has kept both programs blocked.”
“We have seen first-hand how the current DACA program has benefited young people in Virginia and across the country,” said Dong Yoon Kim, Program Director at NAKASEC, when sharing how DACA has impacted the immigrant community in Virginia. “High school and college students, mostly from the Asian American community, come to our office on a regular basis to engage in conversations and initiate student-led campaigns on diverse issues that impact low-income and marginalized youth and parents in Fairfax County and Virginia broadly. Whether an ally or directly impacted by the DACA, expanded DACA, or DAPA programs, these students are part of the community voice fighting back for DACA and DAPA and an America that values keeping families together and is welcoming of hard working immigrants.”
Rodrigo Velasquez of the Mason DREAMers, expanded on what DACA and DAPA mean to students: “Mason DREAMers stand with all undocumented students who wish to continue their education. Actions like DACA+ and DAPA that would extend protection to undocumented immigrants and access to work permits opens doors to education. Everyone can take action while we wait for the Supreme Court to deliberate on the constitutionality of the actions. If you are an educator or university administrator, open your doors to undocumented students and make dreams of education a reality.”
“One year ago today, the immigrant justice movement achieved an important victory: the President’s announcement of the expansion of DACA and the implementation of DAPA. Today, however, our families continue to be torn apart and denied relief from the daily fear of deportation,” shared Margie Del Castillo, Senior Field Coordinator for the NLIRH Virginia Latina Advocacy Network, reflecting on today’s action, “That’s why today’s march from Arlington, VA to the White House was so important: it was a powerful display from our immigrant communities that we will now take this fight to the Supreme Court and that ultimately, we will continue to fight for comprehensive solutions that advance health, dignity and justice and leave no one behind.”
“Today we marched and fought for everyone in our communities who lives in fear of deportation and who would and wouldn’t benefit from DAPA,” added Lizzette Arias from Dreamers of Virginia.
The following organizations are partnering on the march: Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), Mason DREAMers, DREAMers of Virginia, DREAMers of Martinsville, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), DREAMers Mothers in Action (DMIA), Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program, Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR), ), Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice In the National Capital Region, Just Neighbors, Virginia Latina Advocacy Network, faith community, and advocacy organizations.