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Interview from caravan: New Orleans protest to stop the blocking of DAPA

By staff

Milwaukee immigrant rights protesters traveling to New Orleans.

Fight Back! interviewed 19-year-old Monica Fuentes, a student who was one of the many who traveled in a caravan from Milwaukee to New Orleans. Fuentes is among those covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which provides legal relief to some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

More than 500 people from around the country, including California, Texas, Arkansas, Illinois and Wisconsin, came together in New Orleans, July 10, to support Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which would assist more undocumented immigrants. Rallying in front of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the immigrant rights protesters slammed the legal delays that have put the implementation of DAPA on hold.

Fight Back!: Why was the caravan organized?

Monica Fuentes: We as the community representatives of Milwaukee wanted to show our support for DAPA and our disapproval for Governor Walker of Wisconsin siding with the other 26 states in a lawsuit against DAPA.

Fight Back!: What made you join the caravan to New Orleans?

Fuentes: My parents would benefit from this executive action and I don't want them to be deported. I know so many friends and extended family members who also would benefit from this. 34,000 people in Wisconsin would also benefit!

Fight Back!: What do you think about the lawsuit that 26 state governments have signed on to in order to block DAPA?

Fuentes: The governors of the states are not considering why immigration is currently the way that it is. They say their communities will 'be harmed' if they are to grant us DAPA – but the undocumented community is here to say this is not true. We pay taxes and government assistance like Food Stamps, Medicaid, Social Security, financial aid don't even apply to us.

Fight Back!: What do you think of when politicians talk about “securing our borders” against immigration?

Fuentes: They are dehumanizing the people who live on the other side of the U.S. and Mexico border. The reason people are coming here is to escape poverty in their home countries. I completely disagree with militarization at the border.

Fight Back!: What would you like to say to racists like Donald Trump who see immigrants in a negative light?

Fuentes: There's a lot I would say to him. Take a look at my dad – a hard-working Mexican who sacrificed everything back home to give his children a better future. What Trump said completely stereotypes our people and doesn't highlight the truth; that we're hard-working and can't event use the benefits people like Trump claim we can.

Fight Back!: What advice would you give people in their own communities, now that DAPA continues to be blocked?

Fuentes: While we did not win today, we have to keep fighting. The only way we're going to win is if we keep uniting together to keep pressuring the government. We must keep coming out of the shadows and showing that we matter to our communities. Today we live with our heads held high and full of energy for our next fight!

#NewOrleansLA #DeferredActionForChildhoodArrivalsDACA