DACA Rescission Wrecks Stability and Security from 800,000 Undocumented Young People, Activates Immigrant Leaders and Allies to Combat a Rising Nationalist Agenda

September 5, 2017
Sophie Vodvarka
Communications Coordinator
svodvarka@icirr.org
(773) 294-4909

Immigrant community leaders and allies vow to fight for dignity and respect for all undocumented people in the United States

(CHICAGO, IL - September 5, 2017) - The Trump Administration announced today that it is  rescinding President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) calls on every member of the Illinois Congressional delegation to denounce this action, and immediately work to pass legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for the nearly 800,000 “DACAmented” individuals living across the country, more than 41,000 of whom live in Illinois.

“It took undocumented communities and allies traveling, marching, advocating and organizing to make DACA happen five years ago,” said Paula Camaya, a DACA recipient and youth leader with Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago.  “It was a huge victory for our community that has made life easier for many people, myself included. The last few years of my life couldn't have been what they were-- filled with opportunities and feelings of safety and security-- without DACA. I know many other youth feel this way. And now more than ever, we are not backing down. We are not accepting the end to DACA without a fight. We will continue to fight for our community because we want safety and protection. We want our needs to be met and our humanity to be seen.”

Since its launch five years ago, DACA has made strong positive social, economic and educational impacts on both recipients and the states and communities where DACAmented individuals lives.  DACA provided peace of mind to immigrant youths who were protected from deportation granted permission to work legally and support their families, enabled to get driver’s licenses, and more. Not surprisingly, DACA has also enjoyed strong consistent bipartisan support.

Recent reports had indicated that President Trump is working with Republican leadership to present a proposal to provide a path for legalization for DACA youth, but only if tied with increased enforcement mechanisms and funding for a border wall. “We are not a bargaining chip, and we will not be used as pawns to strengthen the deportation pipeline,” said Janeth Vazquez, a DACA recipient and leader with PASO- West Suburban Action Project.

On August 15, the fifth anniversary of DACA implementation, ICIRR members released a series of grounding principles to guide our future action. The principles express support for “all immigrants regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, disability, religion, ethnicity, or criminal background.” The principles call for  “policies that promote due process, fair hearings, and opportunities for meaningful access to justice and opportunities to obtain legal status and legal protection for immigrants.” The principles reject “the criminalization of communities of color” along with “legislative or policy efforts that, even when combined with positive reforms further criminalize, cause harm, create additional barriers, or increase enforcement or detention.”

Undocumented youth won DACA because they spoke out and organized themselves. Our communities will continue to organize in these troubling times to fight any and all enforcement practices. We encourage all community members to get involved with their local organization to fight back against the hate and to push for immigrant-friendly policies at the local level.

ICIRR will be convening DACA youth and allies to provide resources, such as social and emotional supports for DACA youth, and to strategize for the next phase in the battle for immigrant and refugee rights. We will also be meeting with our members of Congress to insist that they push for positive solutions for the immigrant community in light of this most recent setback and other hostile Administration initiatives. Our recent victory on the Illinois TRUST Act has reenergized our communities and given us hope that we can win further victories.  “Working together, we won the strongest statewide protections against deportation that any state has enacted,” said Lawrence Benito, ICIRR’s chief executive officer. “We are directing our energy to building power. When we come together and fight, we can achieve amazing things.”

For more information about resources and support for DACAmented individuals, or to sign up to get involved in ICIRR’s efforts to advance immigrant and refugee rights in Illinois and beyond, please visit www.icirr.org  

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ICIRR is a statewide coalition of 100 member organizations dedicated to advocating and organizing for and with immigrant and refugee communities throughout Illinois. In partnership with our member organizations, the Coalition educates and organizes immigrant and refugee communities to assert our rights; promotes citizenship and civic participation; monitors, analyzes, and advocates on immigrant-related issues; and, informs the general public about the contributions of immigrants and refugees.