Arkansas res­i­dents at­tend Washington im­mi­gra­tion rally

El Dorado News-Times - - National -

LIT­TLE ROCK (AP) — More than a dozen Arkansas res­i­dents headed to a rally in Washington, D.C., in sup­port of the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram, which pro­tected im­mi­grants who were brought to the U.S. il­le­gally as chil­dren and which Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump can­celed ear­lier this year.

The group of res­i­dents left Lit­tle Rock on Tues­day. Of­fi­cials with the or­ga­niz­ing groups United We Dream and the Fair Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form Move­ment say they ex­pect up to 17,000 peo­ple to at­tend Wed­nes­day's rally, the Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette re­ported .

"For us, this is the mo­ment," said Adrian Reyna, a mem­ber of United We Dream.

Trump can­celed the 5-year-old pro­gram that al­lows nearly 800,000 im­mi­grants liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally who were brought as chil­dren to re­main here. The pro­gram pro­vides tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion from de­por­ta­tion and per­mis­sion to legally work.

De­mon­stra­tors are call­ing for pas­sage of the Dream Act of 2017, a bi­par­ti­san bill that would re­store pro­tec­tions, be­fore re­cip­i­ents be­gin los­ing their de­ferred sta­tus next year. The rally comes amid ne­go­ti­a­tions on a gov­ern­ment spend­ing bill for which some Demo­cratic law­mak­ers said they'll with­hold sup­port un­less Congress passes the Dream Act of 2017.

"I think no mat­ter what hap­pens, keep fight­ing," said Hum­berto Mar­quez of Fort Smith, whose de­ferred sta­tus will ex­pire in 2019. "The pres­ence that we'll have out on the streets, the pres­ence that we'll have to­ward our con­gress­men will be stronger than ever."

Mem­bers of Arkansas' con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion pre­vi­ously agreed with Trump's de­ci­sion to dis­man­tle the de­ferred-ac­tion pro­gram. Sen. Tom Cot­ton said a leg­isla­tive fix would amount to "en­cour­ag­ing il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion with mi­nors."

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