Approximately one hundred students walked out of their seventh period classes and gathered at the arches in a protest of President Donald Trump’s handling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, on October 25. The walkout was organized by Tam’s Students for Social Justice club. Although Trump originally threatened to revoke DACA in early September, protests at Tam supporting the policy were delayed as the Students for Social Justice club decided on how to react, sought approval from administration, and tried to publicize the event.
Many students attending the protest have been personally affected by immigration issues. “My uncle Carlos, he just got deported back to Mexico a week ago,” freshman Cycy Hoang said. “You know, it’s been hard times… I don’t know if my dad’s safe, I don’t know if I’m safe, I don’t know if my other cousins and my uncle’s safe…it’s not fair.”
Junior Alexandra Evans, who alongside Freshmen Jake Cohen and Marie Moelck Bidstrup gave a speech to the crowd, grew up in Mexico but is an American citizen. “I was so lucky, because my dad’s American, so we were able to go without having so [many] issues, but there are millions of people that don’t have those opportunities, that don’t have, that aren’t lucky enough to have been born as an American citizen,” Evans said. “They’re coming here because they’re actually terrified, because this is a life or death situation for so many people….other countries don’t know about the structure that we [immigrants] are coming from, so they assume that we’re just coming here to leech off the government, but that’s really not true.”
Organizers said that they were pleasantly surprised with the number of students who participated. “I was not expecting this [turnout]. I was a little worried,” Cohen said.
Tam administrators, including Principal JC Farr and Assistant Principal Wendy Stratton, stood at the outskirts of the demonstration in an attempt to oversee and protect students. “Students can be unpredictable, and to be responsible for everyone’s safety can be nerve wracking. It’s situations like this, where students are out of class, it’s stressful,” Farr said of walkouts, which have become more frequent at Tam since Trump’s election. Last school year, there were walkouts following both election day and the announcement of the Trump administration’s initial immigration ban.