Almost 40 people came out today for a rally against the repeal of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that was enacted under President Obama in 2012. On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program would be repealed. President Trump stated that he feels DACA has contributed to the increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the border, and that the policy was unconstitutional.
Julian Gutierrez, who owns a local restaurant and lives in Shreveport, organized the rally. Gutierrez was born in Mexico and entered the United States at 10 years old. He said he has been a DACA recipient twice in his life, and that a repeal of DACA would be detrimental to the Latino community and the nation as a whole.
Participants decorated signs and t-shirts with slogans calling for a stop to discrimination. Gutierrez was preaching love, harmony, and the importance of community. “I’m proud to be an American,” he said. His goal is to see permanent immigration reform, with immigrants given the chance to earn their citizenship. “We aren’t looking for handouts,” he said. 5% of DACA recipients are small business owners, and Gutierrez hopes the rally will show the community that immigrants are an asset and not a burden. He also aims to dispel some of the myths about DACA. “A lot of people believe that DACA recipients receive welfare, which they do not”.
With his infant daughter in his arms, Gutierrez lead the participants on a march around downtown Shreveport, stopping every few blocks to tell his story and allow other in attendance to share theirs.
One of those who shared was Moises Serrano, a documentary filmmaker from North Carolina, and an undocumented immigrant, who came to Shreveport for the premiere of his new film Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America. The North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is hosting the film. Serrano said that he hopes his film will shed light on the multitude of hardships that LGBTQ and undocumented people face in the southern United States.
Others at the rally shared similar views with Gutierrez. Brenda and Myra said they came out to support DACA recipients and to support the Latino community as a whole. The two are cousins, and both have family members who participated in the DACA program.
Gutierrez plans to hold more rallies in the future, stating that hopefully, this rally will inspire others to come out and speak up.
You can see pictures from the rally here: