Thousands gathered at the capitol Wednesday afternoon to protest in favor of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), of which 182 chose to be arrested for sitting on the capitol steps. The arrestees were charged with “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” the steps, and released after being processed on site. They will have to pay a $50 fine or go to court.
“This is something that has been really important for obviously many communities. We had people who came from all over the country, and I think the point was really clear,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, the president of United Teachers of Dade, FL. “We need a DREAM Act.”
Two members of congress – Judy Chu and Luis Gutierrez – were among the arrestees.
Donald Trump cancelled DACA, an executive order allowing “Dreamers” – people who were brought to America illegally when they were children – leaving their status uncertain absent the passage of a bill like the DREAM Act.
While not a pathway to legal residency, DACA allowed eligible individuals to identify themselves to the government, pay a fine, and have their status deferred indefinitely, essentially preventing them from being deported.