Just days before the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a legal fight over the DACA program, local, state and national politicians gathered on the steps of the Denver City and County Building to declare their support for DACA recipients.
"These are great residents of the City and County of Denver," Mayor Michael Hancock said during the November 8 rally. "We stand by them in court and we stand by them in the streets of Denver, Colorado."
In September 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would wind down the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave undocumented American residents who were brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to gain legal status. The administration's plan to cancel DACA's protections was stopped by various lower courts and will be argued before the nation's highest court next week.
Since Trump came into office, the Hancock administration has made a point of expressing solidarity with Denver's immigrant population. In 2017, Hancock and Denver City Council hashed out a policy that prevented most city employees, such as probation officers, from communicating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That year, Hancock's administration also started the Denver Legal Immigrant Services Fund, which helps immigrants in deportation proceedings get free or low-cost legal help.
Joining Hancock at the rally were Councilwoman Jamie Torres, Colorado Representative Leslie Herod, Congressman Jason Crow, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, and numerous Dreamers, as DACA recipients are known, like Alejandro Flores-Muñoz.
"Dreamers are capable people who day by day contribute to the socioeconomic and cultural growth of the U.S.," said Flores-Muñoz, who runs the Stokes Poké food truck in Denver.
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Crow and DeGette support a path to citizenship for Dreamers. In June, they voted for the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019, which would place DACA recipients on a path toward citizenship. That bill isn't likely to receive enough support in the Senate unless Democrats gain a majority in 2020.
Crow, who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he fought alongside Dreamers while in the U.S. Army. "I will never stop fighting for you," Crow told the crowd.
As of June 30, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that there were more than 660,000 active DACA recipients. According to the Center for American Progress, approximately 256,000 U.S. citizen children have one or more parents with DACA status.
There are approximately 15,000 Dreamers who call Colorado home, according to the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.