Denver Students Protest Trump’s DACA Decision & The Photos Are Striking

Zach Gibson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Protesting the Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, high school students walked out of class to support DACA on Tuesday. The march occurred in two high schools in Denver, North and West High Schools — students were accompanied by school administrators who escorted the event. It's unclear exactly how many students participated in the event, but aerial footage of the marches indicate that several hundred people were present.

The two student groups converged at Denver's Tivoli Center where several DACA students gave speeches before the crowd, according to local Fox affiliate station KDVR. “Right here, right now we’ve got to stand up together,” Liz Gonzalez, a DACA recipient said to her peers while explaining what DACA is and why they should fight for it.

DACA was created in 2012 when President Obama signed an executive order establishing the program. At the time, it was a controversial but ultimately successful workaround after a decade of Congress' failures to pass inclusive immigration reform. The program protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, but qualification isn't automatic or universal. DACA recipients have to have a minimal criminal record, be employed or enrolled in school, plus pay a $500 renewal fee and go through the entire bureaucratic process all over again every two years.

Despite the stringent requirements, nearly 800,000 Americans enrolled in the program and briefly enjoyed a life outside the margins of society. Now their legal rights to drive a car, get a higher education, and work are in jeopardy.

The Trump administration is reportedly giving Congress six months to create an alternative to DACA, but the legislature has yet to pass a single major bill this year. If Congress lets the clock run out, the deportation force could be mercilessly efficient because the US Customs and Immigration Service keeps all Dreamers' names and addresses on file.

Dreamers may not ultimately be forced to leave the country, but even if Congress does create some legislation, it's questionable as to whether all of the freedoms allowed under DACA will still be guaranteed.

A Republican controlled Congress and White House makes this an uphill battle, and Dreamers need support like these students' to ensure that they continue to have access to the fullness of American life.

This walkout can be an example for all activists as they move forward during this troubling political era — disruption can be the basis of a powerful and positive platform.