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Detroit marchers celebrate ruling to save DACA

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Detroit — A small group of jubilant marchers took to the streets of southwest Detroit on Thursday to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against President Donald Trump's effort to strip legal protection from 650,000 young immigrants.

Starting at Clark Park, the crowd of about 17 people made their way down Vernor Highway, carrying signs that said “victory for the movement in the streets” and “DACA se queda! Trump afuera!" (”DACA stays! Trump goes!").

Fatima Sanchez,13, right, of Detroit marches westbound on Vernor St. with protesters shouting out "DACA must stay, Trump must go" during a rally in Southwest Detroit. It was a celebratory march in support of DACA and the Supreme Court ruling to keep it.

“The main reason I came out today is because... I know a lot of people who are like ‘I would come, but I'm scared that they're going to do something’ so I come for them, the people that can't really speak for themselves,” said Pilar Hernandez, 19, of southwest Detroit.

By a 5-4 vote, the court voided the Trump administration's attempt to cancel a 2012 executive order by former President Barack Obama that established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, giving the immigrants protection from deportation and allowing them to work in the U.S.

According to a news release from the state Attorney General's Office, Michigan is home to about 13,000 immigrants covered by DACA program. Those residents paid more than $23 million in state and local taxes, according to a September 2019 report from the Center for American Progress.

Under DACA, people who were brought into the U.S. unlawfully as children may have work permits, pursue higher education, and access other benefits. It is a two-year program that can be renewed. 

Since Trump initiated his effort to end DACA, new applications are not accepted, but those who are already under its protection can continue to renew. 

Fatima Sanchez, 13, of Detroit, chants and marches westbound on Vernor St. with protesters shouting out "DACA must stay, Trump must go" during a celebratory march in support of DACA and the Supreme Court ruling to keep it.

The participants in the southwest Detroit march hailed the high court's decision as a step toward justice for people of color. 

“The politicians, the courts, they understand ... the power of black and Latino unity in terms of fighting for progress,” said Victor Mendez, 30, of Detroit. “We’ve seen that the real powers in the streets, and as long as we keep marching, and staying in the streets ... we will be seeing more and more victories.”

About halfway through the procession, a Detroit police officer stopped participants and told them to get out of the street, saying they were blocking traffic. When they refused, the officer called for back-up.

The officer threatened to end the march if demonstrators didn’t walk on the sidewalk. Marchers continued by walking in a bike lane, with two police cars following them.

The march ended around 7 p.m. after they walked back up Vernor to Clark Park.