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DACA Students Fear Future, Ask For Protection From FIU

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Another rally is being held by students at Florida International University in protest of President Trump’s immigration ban.

They want the school to be considered a sanctuary campus and are concerned about the president and the future.

“He’s gone after other people,” said Ariel Rojas, a DACA recipient. “So why shouldn’t I be concerned?”

At 7 years old, Rojas was brought to the United States from Nicaragua by his parents. Now he fears he could be deported from the country he’s spent most of his life in if the Trump administration decides to reverse the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which buys time for immigrants brought to this country as children so they can seek legal status.

Kids who were born after the summer of 1981 and entered the U.S. under the age of 16 were eligible, as long as they weren’t convicted of felonies, were students or graduates, and had maintained consistent residency in the country.

Rojas and fellow FIU students are asking the university to protect them at any cost.

“The law doesn’t dictate what is right,” said rally organizer Galina Abbelaziz. “And sometimes the law dictates what is wrong, you know? And so if the Trump administration thinks that they can create laws that take away rights from people, then they are wrong.”

It’s a tough situation that could pit FIU officials against federal agents. The university said they won’t set themselves up for a standoff.

“Follow the law. If DACA, if they repeal that, and that our students that currently get in-state tuition, that would have to be reversed and be charged out-of-state tuition,” said FIU VP of Student AffairsLarry Lundsford.

Michael Hernandez, the Miami-Dade County Communications Director, said despite county Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s recent fight to have the city removed from sanctuary city lists, he does support protecting these young immigrants.

“This community is made up of dreamers,” said Hernandez. “It’s not just FIU, you’ve got Miami Dade College, which is, for all intents and purposes, ‘Dreamer University.’ And we certainly need comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. The mayor will advocate for it.”

In the meantime, these students are demanding local action.

“The University of Florida has signaled to us a stronger line in the defense of their immigrant students, in terms of saying, you know, that their police department was not gonna collaborate with ICE. FIU hasn’t said any of that,” said Rojas.

Trump hasn’t specifically addressed the Obama-era program and since his campaign, he has seemingly softened his stance on reversing Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including DACA.

“They shouldn’t be very worried. They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart,” President Trump told ABC News.

More from Eugene Ramirez
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