August 15, 2017 at 8:59 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Gutiérrez, Jealous arrested during White House DACA protest

DACA, gay news, Washington Blade

Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) programs march at Lafayette Park on Aug. 15, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez and former NAACP President Ben Jealous are among the more than two dozen people who were arrested outside the White House on Tuesday during an immigration rights protest.

Gutiérrez and Jealous, who is running for governor of Maryland, and hundreds of other protesters urged the Trump administration to allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status programs that President Obama signed in 2012 to remain in place.

DACA has allowed roughly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and obtain permits that allow them to work. More than 55,000 people from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen — countries that have suffered war and/or natural disasters over the last two decades — have been able to receive temporary residency permits through the Temporary Protected Status program.

CASA, a Maryland-based immigration advocacy group that co-organized Tuesday’s protest, in a press release noted activists “are eyeing” Sept. 5 as “the arbitrary deadline that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other right-wing politicians have given” Trump to end DACA. Advocates also fear the administration will end the Temporary Protected Status program.

“We as an immigrant community have a long history of protecting single-sex marriage and the rights of our LGBT community,” said Gutiérrez as he spoke at a rally that took place in Lafayette Park, which is across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. “We as a movement have a long history of protecting the environment. We have a long history of saying no Muslim ban in the United States of America and that religion will never be something that can be used against you. We have a long history of fighting against white nationalist fascist Nazis and we will continue that fight in Charlottesville and in every town across this country.”

Jealous, former Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Jonathan Jayes-Green, a DACA beneficiary who identifies as queer, are among those who also spoke at the rally. Human Rights Campaign staff and supporters were also in attendance.

“Regardless of what the people in that house say, I am here to stay,” said Jayes-Green, who is the Undocublack Network, which advocates on behalf of Black undocumented immigrants.

DACA, gay news, Washington Blade

A Human Rights Campaign supporter chants during a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) programs at Lafayette Park on Aug. 15, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Tuesday’s rally is among the dozens that took place around the country on Tuesday.

A white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday turned deadly. Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville rally in which Heather Heyer died when a Nazi sympathizer allegedly mowed her and other counter-protesters down with his car has sparked widespread outrage.

“We’re living through dangerous times,” said Jayes-Green. “Living through an era of escalating white supremacist attacks requires us to escalate our love and protection for each other and ourselves. our survival as people who are directly impacted depends on it.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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