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Regional Activists Taking Part In Pro-Immigration Rally In NYC Tonight

A press conference and rally in defense of immigrants got under way at 5 p.m. in New York City. Regional activists are taking part.

On the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, the New York Immigration Coalition was in Manhattan as part of a National Day of Action, demanding an end to discriminatory attacks on undocumented immigrant communities. Anu Joshi is the immigration policy director at the New York Immigration Coalition.   "800,000 young people have been protected from deportation and have been given work permits and really been able to become full members of their communities. They've gone to school, they have jobs, they've bought homes, they own cars, and they always were but DACA allowed them to really fulfill all their potential and to become integral members of our communities. The DACA program is at risk. It's being threatened by 10 attorneys general, led by the Texas attorney general.  President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have not inspired confidence in recent months that they really understand how critical this program is."

Twenty state attorneys general, including New York Democrat Eric Schneiderman, have called on the administration not to tamper with DACA.

Bryan McCormack is the Executive Director of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement. Many of its members are attending the rally. "We are doing our part as New Yorkers to take initiative and participate in the National Day of Action. It's an opportunity for us to raise the narrative of immigrant communities, our communities and to mobilize more people to continue to protect DACA and TPS."

McCormack says more than a million people are at risk of deportation under the Trump administration, which in the coming months will be deciding whether to continue TPS or Temporary Protected Status programs for 10 different countries affected by civil war, natural disaster or other extraordinary conditions. "There are a number of deadlines throughout the next year that will be points in which the administration decides whether or not to extend temporary protective statuses to specific countries that are currently eligible for it."

Joshi says the rally, one of many happening across the country, is about sharing stories, elevating issues and raising awareness. "350,000 people have been provided relief from deportation and granted work permits because their countries are experiencing humanitarian crises and they cannot return to their countries. The Department of Homeland Security controls that program and they have not said for certain whether it will be allowed to continue."

Countries with TPS include El Salvador, Nicaragua, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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