About 60 people marched in Bowling Green on Sept. 5 in support of DACA, or “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” It was one of many marches held across the country after President Trump’s announcement that he plans to end DACA, a program that has helped more than 800,000 young immigrants remain in the U.S. legally.
One of the marchers in Bowling Green was Briant Vargas, a former student at Western Kentucky University, who says he was born in the U.S. but his 21-year-old brother wasn't. Vargas says he thinks it’s inhumane to end DACA and interrupt a good life, like the one his brother is working so hard to achieve.
“He’s been in DACA for two years now, I think. Thanks to that he got a job. He’s working at a Nissan factory, he’s basically a manager there. Pays all his bills. He has a sports car. I have actually avoided calling my house because of the news, I don’t want to cry.”
Another person taking part in the Bowling Green march was Andi Dahmer, the Western Kentucky university student body president and student regent.
“I know that I’ve talked to some people, I cried first and then called my Congressman, but there are a lot of people who called their congressman and then cried. So, as long as you’re doing something to impact it, I think just trying to show that we are in support of theses students. Calling those who represent us nationally and then also signing the various petitions that are going around online is very important.”
Kentucky has about 3,000 people approved for the DACA program and another 6,000 who have been eligible, but didn’t apply, according to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.
The “winding down” of the DACA program over the next six months leaves several thousand young immigrants in Kentucky in a state of uncertainty.