The protest was hosted by immigrant’s rights groups like the Colorado People’s Alliance and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition in response to the Trump administration’s announcement that the program will be ended in six months. The administration urged Congress to pass a replacement program before protections are phased out.
Undocumented students and allies marched in solidarity from their respective schools to defend the program.
“It’s personal, even if you’re not involved directly, it’s personal to you because you see them every day, you feel their pain, you see the look on their face,” said UCD student Korinne Ruhnke.
Speakers at the rally expressed their frustrations with the idea that they could be deported from the country they say is the only home they have ever known.
“Over the last 28 years I have called this country home, and I am not going anywhere,” said Monica Costa from Padres y Jóvenes Unidos.
Others expressed that they had become ingrained in American society and knew little about the country from which they came. Ariadma Segura said her father had brought her family to the U.S. to give them a better life, but believed that one day they would return to their home country. However, Segura said, each year, her family became more rooted.
“We learned the language, the culture, we learned to pursue the American dream,” she said.
Auraria campus is home to over 500 students who are DACA recipients, about 400 of which attend MSU Denver. Both MSU Denver President Janine Davidson and the Student Government Assembly released statements reaffirming support for DACA students and staff. In a university-wide email, Davidson wrote that the school’s legal team would be analyzing the announcement and evaluating legal options for the DACA community. The resolution from the SGA was more vague, stating that “Students can count on us to be allies and the voice when concerns arise,” and that members stand with undocumented students.
According to former SGA President Cristian Solano-Córdova, the resolution from the organization didn’t go far enough to support the undocumented students at MSU Denver.
“It’s just flowery language. I’m tired of allies just talking and talking and talking instead of taking action,” he said.
Although statements from student government cannot force the university administration to make policy changes, Solano-Córdova said that a call for sanctuary status on campus would be more than the action that had already been taken.
“Our student governments need to do something to protect the 500 plus Aurarians who are endangered,” he said.
The rally itself became a point of contention with the Auraria Campus College Republicans group. On Facebook they posted, “Very disappointing our campus is being used as a rallying point for a program that needs to end. Very unprofessional by the school administration to allow the #Daca rally on our campus today. It is time to #Draintheswamp on this campus…”
In a phone interview, ACCR President Alex Inscoe said that the Facebook comment posted by the social media director was “not the wisest.” Inscoe wanted to make clear that the group is not against freedom of speech, nor are they racist. But they are in support of ending the DACA program in favor of more efficient immigration reform.
As of publication, the White House released a memo stating that DACA recipients should “prepare for departure from the United States.” Earlier in the day, Trump called on Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration policy to replace DACA within the six months before the federal government expires the program.
“They better hope that they do, or we’re coming for them,” Solano-Córdova said.