Southern Illinois immigration activists hold DACA rally - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois immigration activists hold DACA rally

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CARBONDALE -- Dozens of southern Illinois immigration activists gathered for a DACA rally Tuesday night at the Gaia House in Carbondale.  

This came after Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that the Trump Administration will end the DACA program, which allows young people who came to the country as undocumented children to stay in the U.S.

Oneida Vargas came to the United States from Mexico as a little girl. Today, the SIU chancellor scholar chases her dreams of becoming an immigration attorney. She also benefits from DACA immigration program.

"Coming here is not something that is easy to do. To leave your home country, everything you know, all your family," Oneida said. 

She joined participated in the rally showing support for immigrants, organized by the Southern Illinois Immigration Rights Project.

SIU Law Professor Cindy Galway Buys described DACA as a temporary solution for a long-term problem.

"We've had various pieces of legislation introduced, including the Dream Act which didn't pass Congress previously, which I think is what prompted President Obama to create the DACA program in the first place."

Nearly 800-thousand people have been approved for the DACA program since the Obama Administration launched it in 2012. And on SIU's campus, there's about twenty DACA recipients.

"I had some of my best law students who were DACA students," said Buys. "I think that adversity pushes them to work that much harder and they're great contributing members of our community."

Oneida said she hopes to become one of those contributors to society and thanks her parents for bringing her to the U.S.A.

"And so now I'm here to thank them for it, and to show them that their sacrifice is going to be worth it," Oneida said.

Organizers encouraged attendees to sign letters to send to Rep. Mike Bost to gain his support for DACA recipients.

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