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UVA Students Rally in Support of DACA Program

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UVA students rallying in support of DACA program UVA students rallying in support of DACA program
James Bland James Bland
Jackie Cortez Nava Jackie Cortez Nava
Katherine Satowski Katherine Satowski
UVA students rallying in support of DACA program UVA students rallying in support of DACA program
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Some students at the University of Virginia are rallying against President Trump's recent decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.

According to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, roughly 8,100 Virginians qualify under the DACA program. There are around 800,000 people in the program nationally.

UVA students rallied in the rain Wednesday, September 6, calling for action. They said undocumented students have a right to a good education.

"I knew rain or shine I was going to be out here because it's important," said UVA graduate student James Bland.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announced Tuesday, September 5, that the DACA program “is being rescinded.” The program was set up to shield minors (under the age of 16) who had been illegally brought into the U.S. since 2007 from being deported. The program allows these people to legally obtain a driver's license, get a college education, serve in the military, and be employed. DACA workers do not draw from Social Security benefits, are not eligible for subsidies from the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), food stamps, Medicaid, , or cash assistance.

"They're supposed to reflect the people, and I think for them to do that they need to grow a backbone and say 'this is not right.' Let's put some protections in place for this community of people," Bland said.

Self-titled "dreamers" at UVA held Wednesday’s rally, calling on other students to join the fight for DACA recipients to remain safe.

"They brought me here, and my sibling when he was three, because they wanted the best for us. We've been working. I just never met so hard working people like the undocumented people here in the states," said UVA student Jackie Cortez Nava.

"My great-great grandpa immigrated from Mexico City. So had this been a few decades ago, that would've been me being deported right now," said Katherine Satowski, a faculty member at the university.

DACA supporters say the United States was built on "a nation of immigrants" and that President Trump should reconsider his decision.

"We're a melting pot. All cultures coming together make America what it is, and so that's why I'm here today. I'm in solidarity that this is what America stands for," Satowski said.

UVA President Teresa Sullivan released a statement saying the university is offering assistance and support to students impacted by the president's decision.

Congress has a six month deadline to form a counter legislation.