Protest fury as Trump dismantles young immigrant programme

Thousands of people have taken to the streets throughout America to protest against Donald Trump's decision to axe an immigration programme protecting those brought to the United States illegally as children.

Demonstrators in Los Angeles held posters, chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go" and "Our communities are under attack. What do we do? Stand up. Fight back".

Trump Tower in New York was among venues targeted by protesters.

In New York, Karen Marin, 26 said she was in a physics class at Bronx Community College when she heard the news of the president's decision.

She said she hoped administration officials would change their minds and "realise what they're doing is wrong".

In Miami, Florida, 23-year-old Colombian Paola Martinez sobbed and said she felt helpless.

Ms Martinez said it was a step backwards and she would be hiding "in the shadows again" when her work permit expired.

US attorney general Jeff Sessions declared the Barack Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme "an unconstitutional exercise of authority" that must be revoked.

But Mr Obama called the decision "cruel" and "self-defeating".

Meanwhile civil rights organisations in New York have asked a federal judge to let them challenge Mr Trump's planned phase-out of the programme shielding young immigrants from deportation.

The groups asked to piggyback on an existing lawsuit brought last year by Martin Batalla Vidal, who was brought to the US from Mexico by his parents when he was seven. Mr Vidal is now 26.

Groups including Yale Law School students, the National Immigration Law Centre and anti-poverty group Make the Road New York now want to amend that suit to take on Mr Trump's plan to dismantle the programme entirely.

They say Mr Trump's roll-back violates the US Constitution because it is based on discrimination over race, ethnicity or national origin.

"This decision by Donald Trump is a direct attack on immigrant youth like me and on our families, and it's based on one thing: the racist beliefs of a president who has been attacking Latinos and Mexicans since the first day of his campaign," Mr Vidal said in a statement.

But supporters of immigration restrictions backed the demise of the DACA programme and said any effort by the US Congress to save it must be tied to new enforcement measures.

Mr Sessions said the administration would stop accepting new applications for DACA and Congress would have six months to pass a new version before officials stopped renewing permits.

AP


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