RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — VCU students who could be affected by the elimination of DACA held a rally on campus Wednesday. They said one of their main goals is to educate the public about what DACA actually is and the people it protects.
According to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, there are more than 1,000 students protected under DACA who are enrolled in Virginia public colleges and universities.
Yanet Amato, a political science major at VCU, says she’s at risk of losing everything if something can’t be done to protect dreamers like herself. Amato says she doesn’t have time to be afraid; instead, she’s one of dozens of students who attended the rally that was aimed at getting the school’s president to protect undocumented students.
“I don’t want to say I feel fear, because unfortunately, I’m already in line of losing everything so fear right now is not something I can express,” she told 8News reporter Mark Tenia. “We want the university to advocate for us on different government levels because they do have the power, they do have the connections.”
Jessica Moreno Caycho, who helped organize the rally, added, “it’s disappointing that we have so many people in power that really don’t have much compassion towards people that are just trying to live here and study and better themselves.”
Caycho and others met with the school’s president, Michael Rao, Wednesday morning and were told their demands were supported. Now she said she’s hoping to see that support publicly as the issue is debated in the upcoming months.
“We are hoping that they keep with their commitment and that we can work closely to ensure the safety of all of our students,” Caycho explained.
Amato, meanwhile, said they will continue to try and educate the public about the program and the people it protects.
“To not just look at us as individuals that are taking people’s spot in schools or jobs, it’s people that just want to have a better life,” she said.
Organizers said they plan to keep pressuring President Rao until they see some sort of action.