Portland Rally Draws Hundreds Of DACA Supporters
Hundreds of people rallied in front of Portland City Hall Friday night in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. The rally comes only a few days after President Donald Trump called for an to end DACA, a 2012 program that provides temporary legal status to young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The event was organized by Hamdia Ahmed, local activist and junior at the University of Southern Maine, and co-sponsored by several organizations in Portland, including Progressive Portland, Maine Immigrant Rights Coalitions and Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project.
Rally-goers endured unexpected rain as they held signs and chanted in unison. Ahmed, who spoke on the importance of standing in solidarity with other communities, says she was pleased with the evening.
“Knowing that we have a community that is standing up against injustice and that makes me feel good, knowing that DACA recipients or undocumented people are not alone and they have people that will stand up for them,” she says.
Among the speakers was Ifran Alam, a Bowdoin College senior and student body president from Texas who helped about 80 of his peers attend the rally. Alam says he was inspired by how many young people came out, especially on such short notice.
“We just really mobilized our student body in the past two, two and a half days to be excited about standing up for students who might be affected by this,” he says. “I know there are many students at Bowdoin College who agree that this decision to end DACA should not happen and that they are here to stand up for those people who might be affected.”
Danielle McCarraher of Windham says, while Trump’s decision to rescind DACA may not personally affect her or her family, she had to support those who are affected by it.
“It is my country and I want everyone to feel welcome. And I don’t want anyone ever to be kicked out and feel like they’re not welcome,” she says.
Organizers urged rally-goers to contact their federal representatives to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide those covered by DACA a path to citizenship. The Trump administration has said it will begin to phase out the program in six months unless Congress finds an alternative solution.
This story was originally published Sept. 9, 2017 at 8:47 a.m. ET.