Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program marched through the streets of downtown Atlanta Monday. Hundreds of demonstrators walked from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s office building on Ted Turner Drive to the Atlanta City Detention Center, where some immigrants are detained, after President Trump announced his decision to rescind the program.

Former President Barack Obama signed an executive order creating DACA in 2012. The policy was created after acknowledgment that students, known as “Dreamers,” had been largely raised in the United States, and was seen as a way to remove immigration enforcement attention from “low priority” individuals with good behavior. On Tuesday, Mayor Kasim Reed also spoke about his continued support of Dreamers, the 800,000 young adults born outside the United States and brought here illegally by their parents, who are now in jeopardy of deportation.

Reed’s statement:

“Atlanta is a city of dreamers, where people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, can bring and build their dreams. President Trump’s assault on DACA is an attack on the American dream and all who worked hard to achieve it.

Eliminating DACA is a shameful abdication of moral leadership. By ending this program, the President is breaking a promise that the federal government made to the nearly 800,000 young people in our country who stepped forward, passed background checks and have been granted permission to live and work legally in the United States.

These brave young individuals asked for legal recognition as members of our society – recognition they have earned through their service to our country as well as through their cultural and economic contributions. We are all enriched through the presence of these young women and men.

President Obama established DACA through an executive order because Congress had failed repeatedly to pass comprehensive immigration reform, despite widespread, bi-partisan support across the nation. These failures are unacceptable, and we cannot wait any longer. I call on Congress to pass the DREAM Act immediately, thereby making the protections afforded by DACA permanent and binding.

Atlanta will not waver in our support of DACA DREAMers and their families, or our immigrant and foreign-born residents. Atlanta is proud to be a Welcoming City – one of inclusion, compassion and diversity – and we will remain so because these values are at the core of what makes our city great. It is my sincerest hope that our nation can live up to its highest ideals, starting with keeping our promise to the DREAMers.”

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