Dozens of Glenbard East students marched Friday near their high school to call for preservation of a federal program protecting young immigrants from deportation.
Jimmy Lynch, a senior at the Lombard school, organized the march after President Donald Trump announced he'll halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program if Congress doesn't act to continue it.
"People in our school and our community -- my friends -- might not be here in a year or two years," the 17-year-old Lombard resident said. "That's scary. So we are here today gathered because we want to show everyone that we stand with undocumented immigrants at our school."
Lynch said he personally knows "Dreamers" who were brought illegally into the country as young children by their parents. He said one of his friends came here from Mexico when she was about 5. America is her home, he said.
"She's really important to me," Lynch said. "We don't want her sent to a country she hardly knows."
Trump gave Congress until March to act. But Lynch said he believes the rules established under former President Barack Obama should have been left alone.
"Now we don't know what's going to happen," he said. "I think it was irresponsible to create this limbo zone."
To spread the word about Friday's march, Lynch reached out to Immigrant Solidarity DuPage.
Cristóbal Cavazos, a coordinator with the Wheaton-based group, said it's "beautiful" that Lynch and other high school students wanted to show their support for DACA and comprehensive immigration reform.
"This is coming from the soul of the youth -- the people affected," Cavazos said. "These kids told me they have friends, they have family members, that were affected by this DACA decision. And they are not going to take it sitting down.
"This is a new generation," he said. "They're not the passive people of the past. These kids are very community oriented."
A diverse group of more than 50 students, parents and supporters participated in the march. The crowd initially gathered in front of Glenbard East to sing songs and chant phrases in Spanish and English, including, "The people united will never be defeated." Some passing drivers honked their horns.
During the march, the students carried homemade signs as they walked on the sidewalk from the school to Roosevelt Road. The procession went west along Roosevelt and north along Finley Road before going east along Wilson Avenue back to the school.