Busload of Immigrant Leaders Join New Orleans Actions Friday

July 9, 2015

Busload of Immigrant Leaders Join New Orleans Actions Friday 

Midwest Activists to Rally for Immigration Relief as Appeals Court Hears Arguments

(Chicago – July 9, 2015) - Today, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights sent off more than 50 immigrant leaders from the Chicago area for rallies in New Orleans in support of President Obama’s administrative relief, which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will consider Friday morning. A full busload of immigrant leaders, along with dozens of other activists driving or flying to New Orleans, will join hundreds of allies from across the nation to make a powerful statement supporting the President’s executive action to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. 

“The current court order that is blocking administrative relief prevents millions of immigrants across the nation from accessing protections that allow them to fully and fearlessly contribute to their communities,” said Lawrence Benito, CEO of ICIRR. “We are confident that this delay is temporary, and we have worked tirelessly to prepare Illinois immigrants so they are ready for administrative relief when it is implemented.”

Last November, President Obama took executive action to provide administrative relief to millions of immigrants by expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and creating a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program for certain immigrants.  Both programs would offer immigrants the opportunity to get protection from deportation and authorization to work if they pass background checks and meet other criteria. These programs stand to benefit as many as five million immigrants throughout the US, including 280,000 immigrants in Illinois. 

Last December, Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit seeking to block these programs, and this past February, a federal judge in Texas, siding with the states, issued a court order enjoining the federal government from moving forward with DAPA and expanded DACA.  ICIRR is confident that the Obama Administration will prevail in this litigation, and that DAPA and expanded DACA will eventually be implemented.

“We are going to New Orleans to fight for our families and our communities,” said Veronica Castro, ICIRR’s organizing director and the leader of the New Orleans bus group. “We need to push back hard against those who are blocking relief that will keep our families together and help our entire community. We will not stop fighting just because some anti-immigrant governors and judges want to block our path.”

ICIRR has already been providing immigrant communities with information regarding DAPA and DACA as part of the Illinois is Ready campaign (www.ilisready.org), a collaboration with city and state offices, community organizations, social service agencies, faith allies, and others.  ICIRR in particular has worked to educate community members regarding the documents they may need to gather for their applications, and to ensure that immigrant serving organizations have the training and resources necessary to assist immigrants with the application process.   

ICIRR and its allies have already given dozens of educational presentations about DAPA and expanded DACA throughout the state, and helped thousands of immigrants gather the documents they will need when they submit their applications.  This Saturday, July 11, ICIRR is participating in a DAPA/DACA orientation workshop at Northeastern University with US Rep. Luis Gutierrez and other allies from 9AM to 4PM.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit www.icirr.org.