RACINE -- President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats for failing to pass legislation extending protections for young immigrants that he has tried to end. Pres. Trump tweeted, "It's March 5th and the Democrats are nowhere to be found on DACA." He says, "We are ready to make a deal!" Pres. Trump announced last year he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but asked Congress to come up with a legislative fix in six months.
In the Milwaukee area, there were walkouts and protests Monday, March 5 in support of those protected by the DACA program -- and there were arrests at an event in Racine.
"We still don't have a permanent solution. I'm still at risk for being deported. Why can't we get a permanent solution?" said Valeria Ruiz with Voces de la Frontera, organizer of the event in Racine.
During the day of action, protesters asked that children who have come to this country as immigrants or with undocumented parents be protected. People gathered at Monument Square in Racine and at the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan. They planned to block the street, and they were willing to get arrested to make their point.
The activists blocked a main intersection in downtown Racine Monday afternoon, and police arrested 15 to 20, including Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, (D-Milwaukee), Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West and Congressman Paul Ryan's challengers Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers.
"It's about doing the right thing and telling Paul Ryan that we are overdue for a clean Dream Act," said Bryce.
"We have seen so much inaction in Congress, especially with Paul Ryan doing nothing to make sure these families are kept in tact," said Myers.
"This is one of the most important issues facing a large segment of families in our community," said Rep Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee).
"I'm honored to stand with people that want the best for this country," said Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee).
Throughout the day, students walked out at several high schools in Milwaukee and Racine -- with Riverside students joining those from South Division High School -- many of them from immigrant families, concerned for their future.
Mohammed Yarcop and his family came to the United States as refugees from Thailand in 2014.
"We come to the United States as a refugee. We had to come. We just come to study here and make a good life," said Yarcop.
"We are here for education, living here. It doesn't matter what religion we are and what culture we are, what language we speak. All of us are the same. We are all human," said Shahe Mamohamad Ayub.
Below is a statement from House Speaker Paul Ryan's spokesman Jordan Dunn:
“The speaker appreciates those making their voices heard today. While court decisions have pushed the deadline on this issue until much later in the year, the speaker remains committed to finding a permanent solution for the DACA population. He continues to work with his colleagues to reach consensus on a plan that protects these young people while also strengthening border security and better enforcing our immigration laws."
Officials with Congressman Ryan's office said they're following the recommendations of law enforcement and closed during the protests.
Those arrested Monday were cited for obstructing and resisting arrest. The fines for the 23 people arrested totaled more than $470.
"This is a matter of urgency. Our lives are nothing to be played with. Our future is nothing to be played with," said Ruiz.