On 5th Anniversary of DACA, Immigrant and Refugee Leaders Stand in Unity, Call on Elected Officials to Support Communities

August 15, 2017
Sophie Vodvarka
Communications Coordinator
(773) 294-4909

Leaders highlighted need to continue key policy initiatives, call on elected officials to support Illinois immigrant and refugee communities

(CHICAGO, IL) As the Trump Administration threatens to end protective policies such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and make every undocumented person in America an enforcement priority; and as white supremacist sentiment throughout the country is fueling violence against Muslims, black and brown bodies, and the LGBTQ community, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) stands in unity with member organizations to defend DACA, TPS, and enforcement threats to immigrant communities.

At Tuesday’s press conference, immigrant and refugee leaders told their personal accounts of what DACA and TPS means for their families and communities, and also discussed guiding principles that enhance basic human dignity and the right to live without fear.

"Thanks to DACA, I have been able to go to school and work to provide my daughter with a better future," said Luz Velazquez, a community leader from Communities United and a DACA recipient. "I have also felt safe going out in the streets knowing that I have some protection. But not everyone is protected - my partner was one of the many people who was not able to apply for DACA, he was brought at a young age but because of the cut off date he was not eligible. My brothers and sisters, along with my parents are not protected either. They feel scared that they can be taken away anytime. I have also started feeling the same fear after I found that DACA is being attacked. That’s why I am here, to demand that we protect DACA and that as we continue to fight for the DREAM ACT and Immigration Reform, that we support protections and a path to citizenship for all immigrants. We should not have to choose between which of our neighbors, friends, or family members are protected."

PASO's Janeth Vazquez, another DACA recipient, added, "I will not let anyone destroy my dreams. Today we are standing here today to continue the fight to keep DACA and TPS and fight against deportations and criminalizing people. I am committed to fighting this time for everyone--especially for you- mami y papi."

Thank you to ICIRR's many partners and member organizations - Enlace, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Syrian Community Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice I Chicago, Communities United, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Centro Romero, South Suburban Immigrant Project, Southwest Organizing Project, SEIU Local 1, The Resurrection Project, Access Living, PASO-West Suburban Action Project, Northern Alliance for Immigrants - who attended today's press conference and rally to #DefendDACA! "The people united will never be defeated."