DACA Recipients and Community Leaders Urge Illinois Congressional Delegation to Defend DACA and Pass Clean DREAM Act

September 21, 2017
Sophie Vodvarka
Communications Coordinator
(773) 294-4909

During the past week, as members of Congress are in district, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and our member organizations and allies have worked to meet with the Illinois Congressional delegation regarding the future of DACA recipients and the DREAM Act.  We are urging Congress to pass a clean version of the DREAM Act, without any compromise of enforcement provisions that would hurt other immigrants and the immigrant community as a whole, and to otherwise defend DACA recipients and commit to keeping their sensitive information safe.  

ICIRR leaders and allies gathered Thursday morning to report on the meetings we have had, and to deploy delegations to the offices of representatives who have yet to respond to meeting requests.  Directly affected immigrants and their families, including DACA recipients whose future stability is once again in question, provided personal testimonies, along with faith, labor leaders and other allies showing solidarity.

"This month we have been working on meeting with our members of congress to get their commitments to support a clean dream act. We have met with or have scheduled meeting with 15 out of the 20 Illinois Congresspeople and Senators. Our message to our congresspeople is clear: support a clean dream act that protects immigrants who qualify for DACA while not harming others in the immigrant community," said Jude Ssempungu, a board member at United African Organization, a member organization of ICIRR. 

"The role of government is to protect all people. We urge the Illinois Delegation to take seriously the moral imperative of their jobs, and to do everything in their power to protect immigrants in Illinois and across the United States," said Rose Mary Meyer, BVM, executive director of Project Irene, an ICIRR member organization.  "Bishop Seitz of El Paso Texas wrote in a profound pastoral letter earlier this year: “Every human being bears within him or her the image of God, which confers upon us a dignity higher than any passport or immigration status.” Dignity is what we are talking about here today. The dignity of all immigrants who should not have to fight for their basic humanity. The faith community is with you every step of the way."

"As we end this press conference, our community will disperse to attend their scheduled meetings and non-scheduled drop-ins with members of Congress. We are unified in our asks to congress: Pass a clean dream act now!" said Michelle Garcia, Latino Community Organizer at Access Living, who hosted the press conference. 

ICIRR member organizations who attended today's press conference include: Access Living, Arab American Family Services, United African Organization, Project IRENE, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, SEIU HCII, HANA Center, Erie Neighborhood House, Southwest Organizing Project, South Suburban Immigration Project, P.A.S.O-West Suburban Action Project, and Chicago Irish Immigrant Support, AFIRE, Asian Americans Advancing Justice I Chicago & more!