MORRISTOWN, NJ - During this week's call to mobilize, local activists held a rally at Congressman Frelinghuysen's Office to oppose the deportation budget. Sara Cullinane, founder of Make the Road New Jersey, has been busy gathering large crowds to protest the increase in deportations. According to the group, "things will only get worse if Congress approves the 2018 budget that sets aside $4.5 billion to detain and deport even more immigrants, hire thousands of additional ICE agents, make tens of thousands of new beds in private detention facilities, and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico".
“We are having a week of action with people joining us from Maine to Virginia", said Cullinane. “We are here to fight for and celebrate the 5th anniversary of DACA, which is a program created by the Obama Administration. The program is designed for children from other countries, to live in the United States to attend school or work without the fear of deportation".
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy, which began under the Obama Administration. According to the Homeland Security website, the DACA allows immigrants, who entered the Unites States as children and have met several guidelines, to request consideration of deferred action of deportation for a period of two years. The policy also makes immigrants eligible for work authorization.
Reinerio Amaya, a DACA student, is grateful for the opportunity to live in the United States. However, with the decrease in funding he is concerned for the survival of the program.
Amaya explained how the DAPA program (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans), which focuses on adults living in the United States to work or attend school has been completely eliminated. Since the DAPA program has been eliminated, the focus has turned to the DACA program.
Activists, such as Make the Road NJ believes that Congressman Frelinghuysen has a critical role to play in the federal budget. The week-long event is part of activity to pressure Representatives and Senators during the Congressional recess.
The group is calling for Not One Dollar to be spent on separating families, and instead to invest in immigrant families and communities with infrastructure, education and healthcare.