by Jorge Rivas
A youth-led immigration protest in Santa Ana, California on Wednesday evening was the latest in a new wave of activism that is rippling across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court’s non-decision on Obama’s immigration executive orders last week.
Chanting ¡sin papeles, sin miedo! or “no papers, no fear,” an estimated 70 people—including some undocumented activists as young as 16— marched through the streets of town Wednesday evening demanding the president halt deportations.
Obama is urging voters to support candidates who champion immigration reform, but undocumented immigrants rallying around the country say they want to make their voices heard in the streets, because they aren’t given a voice in the voting booth.
“Undocumented folks can’t just leave [Deferred Action] to the election, because we can’t vote— that’s not our civil engagement,” said Hairo Cortes, a coordinator with Orange County Immigrant Youth United (OCIYU,) the group that organized Wednesday’s protest.
“What’s worked for us and what’s given us results has been organizing,” said Cortes, 23, who moved to the U.S from Mexico at the age of seven. He says what has worked for the undocumented immigrant population is taking “actions and being visible in public and making sure people are listening and that more people are standing up.”
The activists in Santa Ana marched past a federal immigration office and several city blocks lined with businesses frequented by Latinos. The protest organizers said they want the historically Mexican community to know that President Obama can still take actions to help assuage the fear that many immigrants live in.
“When President Obama spoke about the Supreme Court decision [on DAPA], it was very defeatist speech, sort of giving you the sense of ‘Well, that’s it for me. Nothing else I can do’,” said Cortes, referring to Obama’s sullen speech following last Thursday’s court ruling. “But the fact is, there is plenty more he can do.”
That’s why immigration activists across the country are organizing rallies to call on the president to—at the very least— halt deportations.
Read more from Fusion.