DACA arguments draw large protests at Supreme Court

DACA arguments draw large protests at Supreme Court
© Greg Nash

The arguments at the Supreme Court over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program drew crowds of protesters from around the country on Tuesday. 

Throngs of demonstrators gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court in support of the DACA program, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE moved to end in 2017. Multiple groups quickly challenged his authority to terminate it, and the case has finally reached the nation's highest court.

DACA has provided protections for hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers against deportation.  

Protesters filled the Washington streets in front of the court as the initial oral arguments ended, chanting "Up, up with liberation. Down, down with deportation."

And protesters also targeted Trump for repealing the program with chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go.”

Videos of the protests showed activists playing drums and other instruments as they marched toward the high court, while other protesters demanded “justice for our people.” 

Some of those who watched the oral arguments inside the court walked out locking arms to show unification in support of the program.

The presidential campaign for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic contender, helped organize the Home is Here Rally in support of DACA, asking supporters in an email to RSVP a week before the demonstrations.

"We must stand in solidarity and show the Trump administration that their cruel and harmful policies will not stand," an email from the group read.

The crowd began gathering at the steps of the Supreme Court as early as 9 a.m., an hour before the start of oral arguments.

Capitol Police eventually had to block off First Street and part of Maryland Ave. NE., around 10:30 a.m. as the protests swelled. When Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMalaysia says it will choose 5G partners based on own standards, not US recommendations Pelosi warns allies against using Huawei Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Calif.) arrived at the court around that time, she was greeted with cheers from the crowd.

Among those at the event was a group from the Home is Here coalition. The group left New York City on Oct. 26, and marched to Washington, D.C., arriving on Sunday.

Activists also organized a national walkout for high school and college students across the country.

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The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for three cases over the administration's cancellation of DACA. Trump has argued that former President Obama abused his executive power in creating the program, and that ending DACA would curtail illegal immigration in the country. His decision to cancel the program was challenged in court.

He tweeted Tuesday saying the DACA recipients are “no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” describing some as “very tough, hardened criminals.”

Updated at 1:27 p.m.