May 19, 2015 was the day that President Obama’s Executive Action immigration program was scheduled to start accepting applications. Executive Action will give relief and work opportunity to millions of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children or who are parents of American children. But Executive Action has been blocked by a lawsuit and is being held up in court.
On May 19, 2015 the struggle for fair and humane immigration reform continued. NY’s immigrant communities rallied to demand an end to delays, and the opportunity to apply for DAPA.
Dozens of NY's immigrant organizations also gathered at a town hall meeting to hear updates about the court fight for Executive Action, and discussed ways to prepare communities to apply for Executive Action when it moves forward.
Members of ACT join other immigrant organizations for a town hall meeting in Manhattan.
As the first speaker at the town hall meeting, ACT leader Koku Afeto inspired the audience with his story. Koku was 12 years old when he arrived in the U.S., where he has lived, studied, and worked for almost 20 years. After losing his legal status, Koku found that many of the opportunities he was seeking were out of his reach. Koku told the crowd that he is fighting for his “right to live as an American.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would have helped Koku get legal status and work authorization- but he was two years too old to qualify for it. President Obama's Executive Action would have expanded DACA to include immigrants like Koku- but like millions of other immigrants, Koku's dreams of living as an American were put on hold by the lawsuit.
Despite the delays and roadblocks, Koku is continuing to fight for his American Dream- and so is ACT.
See a video of Koku’s speech here: