Immigration activists are planning a massive show of support Monday for President Obama’s effort to defer the deportation of more than 4 million undocumented workers as the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to the program, including rallies in 20 cities across the country as well as a live concert in front of the court by La Santa Cecilia.
Oral arguments on the challenge to the program, known as DAPA, are scheduled to be held Monday, and activists hope to use the simultaneous protests to bring awareness to the issue, as well as build public pressure on the high court.
According to organizers, the rally in Washington will include labor unions, undocumented families and workers, and Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us. Sophie Cruz, a young girl who ran to Pope Francis to give him a letter last year urging him to help protect her parents from deportation, will also address the rally, which will be headlined by La Santa Cecilia, a Grammy award-winning band from Los Angeles.
"It hits close to home," said Jose “Pepe” Carlos, a DREAMer and band member. "I was undocumented for 25 years, it's really unjust and unfair that we’re not given the credit we deserve as latinoamericano immigrants."
While Carlos is no longer undocumented, his parents are, and if DAPA is struck down by the Supreme Court, their ability to remain in the country legally could be thrown into jeopardy.
"Hopefully it goes through because it's not just my parents but a whole generation of parents who are going to benefit," he said.
Similar rallies are scheduled in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Houston, and Denver, and a week-long vigil will continue through Friday.
"Regardless of what happens we're going to raise awareness of the stark differences between deporting our neighbors and family members and finding a real solution," said Alida Garcia, director of coalitions and policy at FWD.us.
"We want to send a message that this is very personal for our community," said Rocio Saenz, SEIU International executive vice president. "We are in the moment where we are going to have to make a decision on what type of country we’ll have."