HOUSTON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- About 1,000 people from across the United States on Saturday took to streets in downtown Houston, the fourth largest U.S. city, to protest against deportation of undocumented immigrants under a controversial government program.
Undocumented immigrant youth leaders, students and their supporters marched from Discovery Green, a popular park for Houstonians, to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, advocating for giving young immigrants a chance to realize the "American Dream," according to local daily the Houston Chronicle.
Wearing orange shirts reading "Undocumented and here to stay," protestors shouted chants such as "I am somebody" and "We are the mighty, mighty immigrants".
The gathering was part of a national conference for young Hispanics entitled United We Dream Congress 2016, the largest immigration event of its kind in the country where an estimated 1.4 million people are dubbed dreamers, meaning they came to America without authorization.
They are eligible for work permits and have their deportation put off under U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Currently, around 68,000 immigrants are believed to be eligible DACA holders in the Harris County, which detains and deports more immigrants than almost any other counties under the government program known as 287(g), which made rapid deportations of such immigrants possible.
Before the march, Jorge Ramos, a well-known Mexican-born American journalist who accused Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump of "spreading hate" with his calls for mass deportations of undocumented families and for repealing birthright citizenship, called on participants to speak up on the issue.
"You've heard from Donald Trump that we're criminals, and that's not true," Ramos said, "I think hatred and racism is contagious. Because a politician is saying something racist, many Americans feel it's legitimate."