Mass protests have been held in cities across the United States after President Donald Trump canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected young immigrants.
The DACA program allowed nearly 800,000 young men and women, often called “dreamers”, who had entered the country as illegal immigrants, to stay in the US.
After Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement on Tuesday, thousands of demonstrators held protests in different cities including Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, Washington DC, New York City and elsewhere.
In Chicago, hundreds of protesters marched through downtown to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. Their demonstration forced the diversion of traffic from an entrance to an expressway.
In Los Angeles, some protesters were holding signs, denouncing Trump’s decision, while some others told their stories.
One woman said her family had come to the US when she was seven to escape violence in Guatemala, but now, “Where do I go from here?” she asked.
“We went through so much things that a 7-year-old should never have to go,” said Yamilex, who asked to only be identified by her first name.
In Manhattan, where activists gathered on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, police arrested at least 34 protesters, a New York Police Department spokesperson told CBS News.
“I don’t consider Mexico my home,” said a woman, 24, who came to the US from Mexico when she was 4. “Home is here in New York.”
In Denver, high school students took to the streets, holding signs in support of DACA. They later joined a larger demonstration downtown.
“I started crying because I don’t think it’s fair that people think that DACA is something wrong when it’s not,” said Maria Daniela Lopez, a DACA applicant.
Hours before Sessions announced the decision, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the White House, shouting, “We are America” and “We want education. Down with deportation.”
They then marched toward the Department of Justice, where the announcement was made, and later to the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue and began a sit-in.
Trump’s administration said the move was necessary to show respect for the country’s immigration laws, and said nobody covered by the program would be affected before March 5.
Trump ordered a phased-out dismantling of DACA that gives a gridlocked Congress six months to decide the fate of these immigrants.