They’re marching because they could lose everything.
Dozens of immigrants will walk to Washington D.C. to highlight an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case that could determine whether 700,000 people brought here when they were children will be allowed to stay.
Those undocumented immigrants — the so-called Dreamers permitted to stay under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA — could face deportation if the Supreme Court overturns the policy.
They’re planning to kick off their 230-mile journey Saturday at a rally in Battery Park.
Eliana Fernandez, 31, a mother of two, is marching because her status as a Dreamer has enabled her to get a college degree, a job, a driver’s license and a mortgage in the U.S. If she loses DACA, everything she’s worked for over the last 17 years could be undone.
President Trump’s efforts to reverse DACA would be “devastating for me and to many families,” Fernandez, of Long Island, told the Daily News.
“I won’t be able to work without work permits. I won’t be able to pay off my mortgage,” she explained. “My biggest concern as a parent is losing deportation protections. It’s something I worry about on a daily basis. What will happen if I’m taken away from my kids?”
Since 2017, when Trump signaled his intention to rescind the policy, the lower courts have blocked him. Oral arguments are set to begin in the Supreme Court on Nov. 12. A decision is expected from the court next year.
As one of 200 people who signed up to make the 16 day trek, Fernandez won’t see her 12-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son for days, but she plans to reunite with them in the nation’s capital.
Fernandez came to the U.S. from Ecuador when she was 14, and is a lead organizer with the non-profit group Make the Road New York.
Protestors rally and march to Trump Tower in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program also known as DACA on Aug. 30, 2017 in New York City.
Protestors rally and march to Trump Tower in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program also known as DACA on Aug. 30, 2017 in New York City. (Sam Costanza for New York Daily News)
The marchers, organized by Make the Road and several other pro-immigrant groups, will travel through Princeton, Trenton and Baltimore, among other towns.
Antonio Alarcon, 25, of Queens, said DACA allows him to work legally in the U.S. His parents brought him here when he was 10, but they returned to Mexico to take care of his brother after his grandparents died in 2011 and 2012.
“I’m marching because DACA gave me the privilege being able to be reunited with my family,” said Alarcon. “In 2013, I was able to go back to Mexico for the first time in 10 years. It was painful to graduate from high school and college and not have my parents there. But I understood the sacrifices they made.”