WASHINGTON – A group of 11 “Dreamers” arrived in Washington on Thursday after walking more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) from New York to highlight the sacrifices that the undocumented community has made to live in the US and to demand a solution that regularizes their immigration status in this country.
Neither rain nor snow nor low temperatures prevented the 11 young migrants, brought to this country as children and representing the 11 million undocumented immigrants living here, from arriving on Thursday in the nation’s capital to publicly present their concerns and proposals in front of the Washington Monument.
During their trek, some of the expedition’s members – such as Costa Rican Fernanda Madrigal – suffered sprained ankles, a situation that became even worse in the final stretch of the journey.
“It’s been (tiring): We’ve gotten blisters on our feet. I hurt my ankle, some of us have gotten the flu ... But we’ve supported each other and people helped us on the way,” the 26-year-old Madrigal, who lives in San Diego, told EFE.
The Dreamers left New York on Feb. 15 in the rain and passed through five states – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland – to get to the District of Columbia.
During their journey, marked by very low temperatures along the northeastern coast in recent days, the young people encountered many people who had become aware of their initiative and offered them shelter, food, beverages and the chance to clean up.
Once they arrived in Washington, the young people publicly called – in the presence of reporters – for a permanent solution that will regularize their immigration status and prevent harm to other people within the undocumented community.
“We’re asking Congress for a clean solution that doesn’t harm families any more, that doesn’t give more money to the immigration agency (Customs and Border Protection) and that doesn’t (aid in) construction of this wall that (President Donald) Trump talks so much about,” Osvaldo Rodriguez, an undocumented Mexican who spent 15 days on the trek, told EFE.
In January, Trump said he would only agree to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has sheltered hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people from deportation if lawmakers provide funds for building his US-Mexico border wall and eliminate the visa lottery and chain migration.
The Dreamers who came to Washington, however, rejected that stance and demanded that they not be used at bargaining chips for approving Trump’s anti-immigrant measures.
Trump decided last Sept. 5 to eliminate DACA, which had been implemented by former President Barack Obama, but he gave Congress until March 5 to craft a solution to the situation for the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers the program had sheltered, a deadline that was invalidated earlier this week by the US Supreme Court.