© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut Students Protest DACA Reversal

More than a hundred people gathered on the campus of Eastern Connecticut State University Tuesday to protest President Trump’s decision to end protections for undocumented young people. 

The university hosts 105 students who are recipients of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the two-year permit that allows them to study or work legally in the U.S.

Dr. Elsa Nunez, ECSU’s president, was emotional as she addressed the rally.

“I was with my family Labor Day Weekend, and I said to my husband -- I don’t want to go to work tomorrow,” she said. “I just don’t want to go and have to face the students to have to now struggle for six months to fight for what they deserve.”

Trump’s announcement delays the end of DACA for six months with an instruction to Congress to address immigration reform.

Sophomore Daniel Castillo is a DACA recipient. He was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when he was three. He said the current uncertainty is already taking a toll on him and others.

“We’re so far away from family, so we don’t really know where we can seek help, especially since we are undocumented,” he told WNPR. “Our experience is so unique that we don’t know who to trust or not. People decide to just bottle it all up themselves and deal with it themselves, and it affects their personal lives, it can affect their academics, and we don’t want that.”

Eastern stresses that no public funds are being used to support undocumented students as they are not eligible for Pell grants or state aid. And the university says no Connecticut students are being displaced by their presence.

“We’re not the people that are depicted on the news,” said Monica Torrijos, who’s at Eastern majoring in criminology and psychology. “We aren’t here to take people’s jobs. We’re here to work, we’re here to grow the economy, but at the same time we are human beings. We deserve the respect and the humanity that other people do as well.”

Torrijos urged people to write to their elected representatives on behalf of DACA recipients.

170905_daca_eastern-1_0.jpg
Credit Ryan Caron King / WNPR
/
WNPR
Students at Eastern Connecticut State University protest President Trump's decision to end protections for undocumented young people on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

Greg Romanovsky is head of New England's American Immigration Lawyer's Association. He said the elimination of DACA will leave most of the recipients with little recourse.  

"For the vast majority of the Dreamers, there will be no other options," he said. "Instead, they will be left completely exposed."  

The program required undocumented young people to apply and register with U.S. immigration officials.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made the administration's announcement Tuesday, said Congress has until March 18 to legislate a potential continuance of the program.  

WBUR's Shannon Dooling contributed to this report. 

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.
Ryan Caron King joined Connecticut Public in 2015 as a reporter and video journalist. He was one of eight dedicated reporters on the New England News Collaborative’s launch team, covering regional issues such as immigration, the environment, transportation, and the opioid epidemic. His work has been published nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now, and on NPR’s digital platforms. From 2017 to 2018, Ryan was on a team covering the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Excellence in Video.” Since 2019, he has been a full-time visuals journalist.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content