Hundreds of high school and college students from at least nine schools across Washington walked out of class and rallied on Capitol Hill Thursday for a mass protest in support of a legislative solution for the immigrant children affected by the recently canceled DACA program.
More than 1,000 students and activists gathered in the main atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building, where they unfurled a massive banner demanding congress pass a “clean DREAM act now.”
“It’s been a year and what has [Trump] done? “ Bruna Distinto asked NBC News. “He said he had the heart for Dreamers, then he rescinded DACA.”
The walkout and rally was sponsored by the United We Dream activist group, whose members have been a part of immigration actions across the country over the past several years. It comes the same week as the first DACA recipient deported by president Trump was arrested for attempting to re-enter the United States.
While Thursday’s protests were aimed specifically at Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, Democratic legislators like Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz were among those who responded to the rally, by meeting with participants and sharing their message.
The protesters call for a “clean” DREAM act unencumbered by any attachment to other legislative actions has become one of the thorniest political issues this fall, with some Democrats increasingly eyeing a possible government shutdown to force a bill before Congress breaks for the holidays on Dec. 8.