Napans showed their support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, during a rally at Veterans Memorial Park last Wednesday evening.
The rally, attended by well over 100 people, was planned in response to the Trump administration’s announcement Tuesday that the program that has protected approximately 800,000 people, commonly known as “Dreamers,” who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, would be winding down.
“A lot of Napa community members are feeling anguish, sadness,” Ricky Hurtado said of the planned rollback of protection for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but have been protected from deportation by an executive order by former President Obama.
The event, spearheaded by the Napa Valley Dream Team, focused on what resources are available to Dreamers and other immigrants in addition to showing support for the immigrant community.
“We want to highlight organizations that people can turn to in this time of uncertainty,” Hurtado said.
Eduardo Rivera, a DACA recipient and local organizer, said that the narrative that DACA beneficiaries were brought to the U.S. “through no fault of their own” suggests that parents who brought their children here are criminals.
“I don’t want my mom to be criminalized,” he said. Even if DACA continues, he said, “What is going to happen to the other 10.2 million (undocumented) immigrants who live here?”
If the Trump administration is disbanding DACA is because it wants to uphold the law, then why pardon someone who deprived people of their civil rights, Rivera said, referring to President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio last week.
During an open forum, Daniela Gamez, who is not a DACA recipient but is currently studying at UC Davis, echoed Rivera’s sentiment regarding the parents who brought them here.
Of her own parents, she said: “They are not criminals for bringing me here. They just wanted a better future for me.”
Her family pays taxes every year, and, she said, her mom may not be a citizen on paper, but she is one in her heart.
“We didn’t cross the border,” she said. “The border crossed us.”
While the group stood in a circle holding signs and listening to impromptu speakers, including Napa County Supervisors Belia Ramos and Alfredo Pedroza, a man started chanting “USA! USA!” from the First Street Bridge.
“USA! USA!” answered the DACA supporters.
Seemingly confused for a moment, the man then yelled “Trump! Trump!”
“The people united will never be divided,” rally-goers answered. The rally continued peacefully, lasting nearly two hours and, when the shouter showed up again holding a Trump flag, a young man addressed him in front of the crowd. “You’re by yourself,” he said, “yet we’re united.”
Planned speakers included representatives from Calpulli Nanahuatzin, Rep. Mike Thompson’s office, the Napa Valley Dream Team Club, the Dream Team’s Rapid Response Team and Puertas Abiertas.