DACA immigration rally draws big crowd in Painesville - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

DACA immigration rally draws big crowd in Painesville

More than 100 people rallied in Painesville on Wednesday to show support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (Source WOIO) More than 100 people rallied in Painesville on Wednesday to show support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (Source WOIO)
PAINESVILLE, OH (WOIO) -

More than 100 people rallied in Painesville on Wednesday to show support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, which will end in March unless Congress acts to replace it. 

DACA recipients, and their supporters, packed Veterans Square, holding signs and listening to speakers tell their DACA stories. The rally was inspired by the Trump administration’s announcement on Sept. 5, that it would rescind DACA protections in six months, unless Congress acts to replace the measure. 

Benjamin Jacinto was brought to the United States from Mexico nearly 20 years ago, when he was just eight years old. He said he considers himself an American.

Jacinto graduated from high school, is starting his own landscaping business, is married and has a child who is an American citizen. As a DACA recipient, he pays taxes, but cannot use programs like social security. 

“Every paycheck I get I have to pay social security, Medicaid, state taxes, all this other stuff just like a citizen, just like everybody else here. All immigrants pay taxes. Everybody pays taxes. I don't know where this comes from that we don't pay taxes,”Jacinto said. 

The average age a DACA recipient was brought to the United States is six years old. In order to have been eligible to apply for the program, recipients can't have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or more than three misdemeanors of any kind. 

DACA recipients also had to apply for the program, and turn over personal information like home and work addresses, information the government now has. That is a little concerning to Jacinto and other DACA recipients if the protection does disappear. 

“There's always going to be a little bit of concern because now they have my address, they have where I work at, they have everything now. That’s ok though, so, it's going to be real hard on the Painesville community and surrounding areas with that,” Jacinto said. 

Many people at the rally were not DACA recipients. One, Connie Irvin, a retired teacher, told Cleveland 19 that she had DACA recipients in the classroom, and supports the program. 

“I don't think it's really fair now that they're out there and that they put their faith in what our government said, and whether the government is one party or the other, we're all Americans and this is a part of our moral obligation to them,” Irvin said. “I've seen how hard some of these kids work and how, you know, they had not nearly the advantages of some of the people who were quote unquote born here, and they’re willing to work hard, and it seems to me that's what American is all about.”

Republican speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, gave an interview with the Associated Press Wednesday, and answered a few questions about DACA.

“I do not believe that kicking these 800,000 kids out to countries that they've probably not been to since they were toddlers, in countries that speak a language they may not even know, is not in our nation’s interest,” said Ryan. 

He did go on to say that he thinks Congress needs to ensure that borders are more secure so there isn’t another issue similar to DACA ten years from now. 

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