State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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Protesters push PA Republicans to stand with DACA

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Sep 7, 2017 5:58 AM

A few protesters deliver a list of demands to US Senator Pat Toomey's office in Harrisburg. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)


(Harrisburg) -- Magdalena Perez is undocumented.

Her 23-year-old daughter, who arrived in the United States 15 years ago, received nearly all her education in the country. For the past few years, the young woman has been protected from deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. But speaking through translator Lydia Walther-Rodriguez, Perez said now, she's afraid for her daughter.

"No, no--pienso que no," Perez said when asked if her daughter would be able to find work in Mexico.

"She doesn't think that she'd be able to make a life there," Walther-Rodriguez clarified.

Perez spoke from outside US Senator Pat Toomey's office, where she was rallying with a small group from pro-immigration reform organization CASA.

It was one of over a dozen protests that sprang up at lawmakers' offices throughout the commonwealth, following the Trump administration's announcement that it's going to begin repealing DACA--a key Obama-era immigration program.

Toomey supports the repeal, and has said President Obama didn't have legal authority to create DACA. He has said young immigrants should be "accommodated," but government still should crack down on stopping sanctuary cities, border security, and companies that hire undocumented workers.

Walther-Rodriguez, a CASA organizer based in Maryland, said if Republicans on the federal level won't support DACA, state and local officials should start doing so. And she added, there needs to be an overall change in the tone of immigration discussions.

"It's really important, now more than ever, that they speak publicly against all of the negative commentary that the Trump administration has been doing against our immigrant community," she said, referencing disparaging comments Trump has made about Mexican immigrants, among others.

Some Pennsylvania officials have already pushed back on the repeal in some capacity. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday that the commonwealth is joining 14 other states and Washington DC in suing the federal government in an effort to keep DACA in place

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