Los Angeles DACA students rally on 5th anniversary to defend program

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Nearly 80 people attended a rally in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday to celebrate the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals act, and they wanted their message heard all the way in Washington D.C.

It was one of several rallies held across the country celebrating the fifth anniversary and defending the program.

It was organized by The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). The organizers said DACA has benefited nearly 800,000 young people since it began.

"DACA has benefited hundreds of thousands of young people, but we have all benefited. We have all benefited from their incredible talent, their strength and their love of their community," said Angelica Salas, with CHIRLA.

It was in August 2012 when the Obama administration started accepting applications for the program. One of those people who signed up was Manuel Jimenez.

"It gave us a fresh breath of air. It gave us a sense of relief in the fact that we are able to go to college, realizing our dreams," he said.

Students worry the program is in danger of being canceled by President Donald Trump.

"As undocumented immigrants, we deserve to live without fear. We deserve to thrive - not just survive. The lack of one piece of paper does not erase our humanity nor diminish our worth," student Rosa said.

Organizers said what they want is a permanent solution, but they know Congress would have to get involved to accomplish that.
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