University Leadership Initiative holds press conference regarding DACA

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UT Student Body President Alejandrina Guzman speaks at a University Leadership Initiative press conference in response to President Donald Trump's decision to rescind DACA.

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

At 2 p.m., University Leadership Initiative held a press conference at the J.J. Pickle Federal building in downtown on President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Samuel Cervantes, DACA recipient and political communications and government senior, organized the ULI press conference and featured around a dozen speakers who shared stories of how DACA has affected.

“Today is a very disappointing day for the undocumented community,” Cervantes said. “(DACA) has allowed about 800,000 undocumented youth to reach their potential in the United States.”

Earlier this morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA, a policy created by executive order by former president Barack Obama in 2012, would be rescinded with a six-month delay. The policy will expire on March 5, 2018, giving Congress until then to pass its own law regarding undocumented immigrants.

Student body president Alejandrina Guzman said as someone born in the U.S., she needs to use her position to advocate for undocumented immigrants to ensure that they have a place here.

“I'm here to say I strongly oppose the president’s decision to end DACA,” Guzman said. “We must use (our) privilege and not be silent. This issue transcends communities.”

Megan Sheffield, attorney for Equal Justice Center, also spoke and urged DACA recipients to renew their applications as soon as possible if their status will expire before DACA’s expiration date in March. She also said the EJC “condemns” the decision by the Trump administration to rescind DACA.

“It’s irresponsible to the cancel the program without a legislative solution already in place,” Sheffield said. “It’s also nonsensical to hang the threat of deportation over nearly 800,000 young people who grew up here and call the United States their home.”