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UVA Students 'Walk Out' of Class to Protest 'Increasing Attack' on Undocumented Immigrants

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Several dozen University of Virginia students walked out of their classes Wednesday to protest -- what they say -- is an increasing attack on those who are undocumented, both at UVA and around the country.

They want both increased awareness and respect.

More than 100 gathered here on the amphitheater steps to talk about the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and how common it is to know one.

"We're asking everybody at UVA to stop business as usual and to stop what they're doing to walk out and come in solidarity,” Andrea Negrete, a graduate student, said.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, students across UVA chose to walk out of class instead of attending. The "Walk Out for Justice" is to raise awareness for undocumented students.

"Now more than ever we have an administration that is attacking the immigrant community on a daily basis. They're through tweets or through trying to pass policies," Negrete said.

Students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival policy took the stage to talk about the importance of action now that DACA is being repealed by the Trump administration.

"I think a lot of the great things that we see at UVA and in Charlottesville is because of grassroots movements because of people working together,” Negrete said.

Organizers for the "walk out" say support will always be louder than hate.

"Sometimes the people that don't want us here, don't want the undocumented community here, are a bit loud but when you have events like this is gives opportunities for people that are in support, which are the most, to come out and support,” Jacky Cortes, a student, said.

They say sharing the stories coming from undocumented students shows there is not a "standard" immigrant.

"We have Dreamers that are at universities like here at UVA. We have Dreamers that are in the work force. We have Dreamers that don't qualify for DACA, don't qualify for a possible Dream Act and all of those stories are valid,” Cortes said.

Organizers for the "walk out" also said that those who attended and care about the issue need to get out and vote in the election next Tuesday for candidates that support immigrants.