Immigrants Throughout Illinois Call on Congress to Pass Clean DREAM Act Immediately

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

On today’s arbitrary deadline for submitting renewals for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) member organizations are once again pushing for the immediate passage of a clean version of the DREAM Act, which will finally give some immigrants a pathway to citizenship. Without the DREAM Act or similar legislation, immigrants who had been protected by DACA will face deportation.

The DREAM Act (S 1615/ HR 3440) is the only bipartisan and commonsense bill that can pass Congress.  Other bills, including the SUCCEED Act (S 1852) introduced by Senate Republicans, fall short. The DREAM Act is a step in the direction of protecting all 11 million undocumented people in the United States.

“I first received DACA in early 2013 and it has allowed me to work in my field of study and get a job that allows me to support my family, purchase a car, further contribute to local economy, said  Chirayu Patel, a leader with Asian Americans Advancing Justice I Chicago, a member organization of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “Congress needs to pass a permanent legislative solution like the DREAM Act because right now it feels like they are gambling with our futures and livelihoods for political point scoring. I arrived in the country when I was 11 years old. It is the only country I know as home.”

In the past several weeks, ICIRR member organizations have met with the offices of 14 of the 20 members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation.  We demanded they take seriously the needs of the immigrant community to pass the DREAM Act without also attaching enforcement provisions that would hurt the families of DACA recipients and other immigrants. To assist DACA recipients who have been eligible to renew their protection, our membership have conducted over 50 DACA renewal workshops throughout Illinois over the past three weeks.