Approximately 60 students skipped class and convened in the Kimmel Center for University Life around 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 to oppose President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Sept. 5. This walkout, organized by the NYU DREAM Team and 19 other NYU-based clubs, was part of a larger campaign of New York City students in support of a clean Dream Act.
After gathering on the steps of Kimmel, students marched down University Place, chanting the whole way. Passersby were seen giving thumbs-ups, taking videos and pulling aside protesters to ask about the march. The students formed a circle in Union Square and met with other advocacy coalitions from other universities and across New York City.
The Facebook event said the purpose of the walkout was to demand that Congress ensures the permanent protection for undocumented youth with no dangerous add-ons that will terrorize undocumented people, militarize borders and harm other immigrants.
“Due to President Trump’s bigoted and inhumane decision to end DACA, we only have until Dec. 8 to ensure that this happens,” the event’s Facebook description said. “The stakes could not be higher, and the timing could not be more urgent. Now is the time for action.”
Valeria Cortes-Rivera, a CAS junior and Latinos Unidos Con Honor y Amistad member, said she walked out of class because she is a first-generation college student and a proud daughter of immigrant parents.
“I am walking out in solidarity with all my undocumented folks,” Cortes-Rivera said. “I am not a DACA student, but I stand strong with their belief that they deserve to be protected.”
Cortes-Rivera also said she believes any modifications to the DACA act are inhumane and produce a dangerous distinction between who makes a good immigrant and who makes a bad one.
“With this walkout, we can bring awareness and reassert that we are a community and we are here for our community,” Cortes-Rivera said. “It’s important for us to remain in solidarity.”
A Tisch senior who preferred to remain anonymous due to the fact that they were missing class said they think the United States needs to do a better job of protecting immigrants.
“‘I am here because I believe in human beings and people looking for better lives for themselves and their families,” the student said. “I hope that this walkout puts pressure on NYU to improve their protections from students as well as putting pressure on the united states government.”
Paige Cook, a CAS freshman and treasurer of Native American Indigenous Student Club at NYU, said that she supports student DREAMers because she thinks her struggles resonate with their struggles.
“I am here to support the NYU DREAM Team and undocumented students at NYU to insure that there are people here supporting them and that we want them to be safe and secure in their lives,” Cook said. “I am Native American and so I know what it is to be marginalized and how it feels to be left out of a lot of conversations surrounding diversity, intersectionality and inclusion, so I understand that it’s really hard for some students.”
Email Miranda Levingston at [email protected]