NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A nationwide issue is taking on life in Hampton Roads.
The debate over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy is stirring a lot of emotion and anxiety as the Supreme Court reviews the Trump Administration’s push to end the program.
On Thursday evening, several dozen people held a rally to show their support for DACA recipients.
Although a ruling on the issue isn’t expected for a while, they wanted to make sure their voices are heard in the meantime.
Dozens of people stood outside the federal courthouse in Norfolk Thursday to rally behind a group of immigrants whose fate now rests with the Supreme Court.
“They wake up every day, they don’t know. They have no idea where, or what’s going to happen. That’s got to be horrible, every day, to wake up and not know,” said Renee McCarthy.
Members of the nonpartisan group Virginia Organizing held signs and chanted support for DACA recipients.
The program allows children who were brought to the U.S. under the age of 16 to stay in the country and apply for legal status if they arrived by 2007.
The Dreamers, as they’re called, could reapply every two years under the program — but with the program’s future up in the air, supporters said they want immigrants to know they have an ally.
“We have their backs. We [are] the voice that speaks for them if they can’t speak for themselves,” said Terry White.
Several people at the rally said many Dreamers are contributing members of the community.
“They have worked really hard to become a DACA student. You don’t just get it. You have to earn it,” McCarthy said.
“They are people and they are here to stay. They are working hard — they ain’t bothering anybody,” said James Washington Jr.
The group is passionately pleading for the Supreme Court to keep politics out of this ruling.
“They have the same right to live their lives as long as they contribute to the nation and they’re good people, they deserve to stay here as much as I do,” said Gene Kearn.
“We are a country of immigrants and that makes our country great,” McCarthy said.
A decision on the matter could be made in the spring, which will likely be a key issue for voters during an election year.
Note: In the on-air piece, the reporter incorrectly referred to the group’s name as Organizing Virginia. The name has been updated in this web article. WAVY 10 News regrets the error.