WILLIMANTIC -- Dozens of Eastern Connecticut State University students gathered on campus Tuesday to rally against President Trump’s announcement to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrives, or DACA.
Students held signs, chanted and gave speeches. Some even put tape over their mouths. There are 104 DACA students at ECSU and roughly 10,000 Dreamers in Connecticut.
“It just feels like I’m being betrayed by my own country because this is my home,” said Johana Vazquez, an ESCU student whose family came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was two. “Immigrants have never been here to take anyone’s place. We’ve only been here to contribute. We’re all immigrants.”
Another ECSU student, Daniel Castillo, said his family has been in the U.S. for 18 years since leaving Mexico to find a better life. “We just want to be students,” said Castillo. “We just want to contribute. We want to study, get our education, and now everything’s up in the air. We’re not sure what could happen.”
Students expressed feelings of anger, fear and uncertainty, while also adding that they are grateful for the support of their school and classmates.
ECSU President Elsa Nuñez made an impassioned plea to lawmakers at the rally. “This is not fair,” said Nunez through tears. “It’s not right. It’s not decent. And it’s not American.”
Nuñez released a statement earlier Tuesday, saying in part, “They [DACA students] are Americans, as American as the students they sit next to in class, as American as their younger siblings born here in this country.”
The students said they will take their anger and channel it into productively fighting for their cause. “We’re united,” said Vazquez. “We’re going to go through this together. We’re not alone.”