The Times, Trenton

Protesters Are Coming To These 6 Towns In N.J. Today. Here's Why.

The Times of Trenton — March 5, 2018

By Kelly Heyboer
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Under President Donald Trump's original plan, March 5 was supposed to be a do-or-die day in the debate over the future of the DACA program.

Trump planned to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program on that date unless Congress finally passed a new immigration reform plan.

A series of court challenges has put the plan to officially end DACA on hold. But, immigration activists are still marking the date as a symbol of their struggle to hold on to the program to give protections to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

New Jersey activists plan to hold a series of protests — six rallies over seven hours — in six municipalities across the state Monday.

"Dreamers will rise up across New Jersey to demand a DREAM Act that does not criminalize our communities and separate our families. No Business as usual. We're fired up as ever. Stand up, fight back," organizers said in the announcement of the rallies.

The protests are scheduled for:

More than 30 local activist groups, unions and other organizations are scheduled to participate in the protests, including RU Dreamers, New Labor, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, NAACP- New Brunswick Area Branch, Women's March on New Jersey and New Jersey Citizen Action.

DACA, which began under the Obama administration, allows children brought to the U.S. illegally to temporarily live and work in the country without fear of deportation. The Trump administration planned to stop accepting renewal applications for the program March 5, allowing all of the current DACA permits to eventually expire.

However, two recent court rulings ordered the Trump administration to continue accepting DACA renewal applications while the courts consider legal challenges fighting to keep the program. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case.

Several attempts to reach a compromise in Congress to extend DACA have failed. There are currently about 700,000 DACA recipients in the U.S.

As of March 2017, New Jersey had about 22,000 registered DACA recipients, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An estimated 51,000 immigrants living illegally in New Jersey were eligible for the program.

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