Human chain blocks major intersection during DACA protest in Kalamazoo

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Kalamazoo protesting the Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"We’re rallying here at Bronson Park today in order to completely reject the news from DACA [that] came  out today," said Nelly Fuentes of the Cosecha Movement. "It's an inhumane, total inhumane move from the government."

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it's phasing out DACA and leaving it to Congress to come up with an alternative.  The program shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

"Your humanity does not lie on a nine-digit number," said Fuentes. "Your humanity lies within you, and it lies within your community. We are here for you. Your community is here for you."

The crowd roared "Si Se Puede" and other chants and listened to people speak about how the DACA decision impacted their lives. The rally turned into a march and subsequent protest when the crowd made their way down Michigan Avenue and stopped in the middle of  Westnedge blocking the road.

Hundreds of protesters stood in the intersection of Michigan and Westnedge forcing bumper-to-bumper traffic for almost a mile. A group of eight people formed a human chain in the middle of the crowd carrying a sign that read 800,00 Lives which referred to the number of people involved in the DACA program currently. Drivers honked their horns and shouted from their windows in frustration of what was going on. Some even diverted into a nearby car dealership to get away from the protest.

"Kalamazoo’s not going to stand for that," said Fuentes. "DACA students, undocumented immigrants need to have full rights as any other human being does."

Trump says he has a "great love" for the young immigrants protected by the DACA program. But his decision was met with shock, anger and a sense of betrayal by its beneficiaries, often called "Dreamers."

"They are human beings and that is exactly why we need to stand up for them," said Fuentes. "They are Americans in heart, in soul, in every other way except in paper. And that needs to change."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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  • Push To Talk

    Din’t mommy tell you never to play in the road ?
    I won’t stop, just sayin’ , i won’t give you the opertunity to beat me or kill me.

  • steve

    These “protesters” in this instance, as well as most others, are so abysmally stupid that they actually believe that they’re gaining support by their actions. They’re not. The people who are violating the laws and societal norms of decent people are never going to endear themselves to anybody except themselves.

  • 6thstreet

    need to find a way to charge them all with felony. There no reason all they illegal in west Michigan should not be round up and deported .
    illegal immigration in Michigan, cost broken down:
    $367 million went to education
    $87.6 million to healthcare
    $66 million to justice and law enforcement
    $143 million to public assistance
    $255 million to general government services

    Michigan had 20 million shortfall last year alone. just getting rid of the illegal aliens in Michigan in one year would save Michigan budget for next 20 years.
    plus DECA not about kids the average age is 25 .there not little 5 years old.If the have a problem first blame there criminal parents ,there all criminal minute crossed border illegal ,second get there own government in Mexico fix there problem .it not a white ,black or brown than it a American verses Mexican than