(NEW YORK) — Several hundred NYU students and some professors walked out of their classrooms on Wednesday in an effort to pressure school administrators to protect immigrant students from potential deportation under a Trump administration.
The protestors gathered in Washington Square Park, and then ended their march at the school’s Bobst Library, where a 10-minute moment of silence was staged.
Tufts, Yale, Columbia, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Brown, Miami-Dade College, and other institutions across the country also held rallies to protest Trump and his tough stand on immigration, which may include the elimination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a policy passed by Obama that allows certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The president-elect vowed to deport millions of undocumented immigrants from the U.S. in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, saying that as many as 3 million people could be removed, focusing on those with criminal backgrounds.
Trump has not explicitly said he wants to repeal DACA, but has said he wanted to get rid of some Obama executive orders.
— Michael E. Hayden (@MichaelEHayden) November 16, 2016
“It’s important that we show solidarity with undocumented students,” 18-year-old Joaquin Caceres said, regarding his decision to involve himself in the NYU walk-out.
Caceres, who is a freshman at the school, was born in the U.S. to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents. He said he believes he “benefits” from his light complexion, but worries about how Hispanic men and women will be treated now, not only by Trump’s policies but by his supporters.
He said that he cast his vote in New York for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, but would have “held his nose” and voted for Clinton in a swing state to prevent a Trump presidency.
Sirkka Miller, 21, who voted for Hillary Clinton, volunteered to help organize the crowd of protesters. After the moment of silence, she said that she still felt a degree of shock following Trump’s win, and blamed the media for imbuing the country with a “false sense of security that a Clinton win was inevitable.”
She said shared the desire of her fellow protesters to push administrators into offering protection to immigrant students, regardless of what Trump might do as president.
“People feel desperation because of this,” she said. “Powerlessness.”
Earlier this week, protests targeted white supremacist support for Trump, as well as the Wall Street ties of Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.
The tone of the NYU protest was critical of Trump, but also the Democratic Party.
Void Diaz, 21, who is a political organizer from New York City but is not a student at NYU, used the opportunity hand out pamphlets urging protesters to fight America’s political system in a more broad way, and expressed concerns that President Obama and Hillary Clinton had “normalized” Trump’s presidency in recent remarks about his victory.
“The Democrats are trying to make Donald Trump a legitimate candidate which he is not,” Diaz said, referring to Trump’s nationalist policies, which she referred to as fascist. “In my eyes they want to conciliate this man–and that’s a real problem.”
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