Congressional Failure to Pass DREAM Act Before Holiday Recess Jeopardizes Safety and Stability of 42,000 Young Illinois Residents

December 21, 2017

Immigrant community leaders and allies outraged by lack of DREAM Act vote, double down to fight for its passage next month

December 21, 2017

(CHICAGO, IL) -- Members of Congress entered the holiday recess without the passage of the DREAM Act, leaving 800,000 DACAmented individuals in limbo. Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) leaders and members fought vigorously in Chicago, Wheaton, Rockford, Champaign, Bolingbrook, D.C. and other areas to push Illinois Representatives and Senators to secure the votes for the DREAM Act’s passage from the members of the Illinois Delegation.  

“We got on buses, marched on Washington, rallied in downtown Chicago, met with members of Congress throughout the state, collected signatures, engaged in civil disobedience, formed a human chain around the entirety of the Kluczynski Federal Building and more, all to tell Congress to do their jobs and pass a clean DREAM Act,” ICIRR CEO Lawrence Benito said. “We are willing to do whatever it take to get it done. We did our job. Congress failed to do theirs,” he said.

Over 122 young people lose protections from deportations per day following the Trump Administration's rescindment of the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Failure to act puts over 42,000 Illinois residents and over 800,000 young people nationally at risk of deportation.

“In June my DACA status will expire and if Congress does not act that means I will lose my job.  The DREAM Act could have been passed out of congress this month if the political will was there,” said Gerardo Salinas, a leader from Access Living, a member organization of ICIRR. “I am university-educated, I work for an adult education center, I host radio shows and I am expecting a daughter in April. Congress is ready to celebrate the holidays with their families while leaving us with this question: What’s going to happen to our families?  Will we be together next year?”

Several versions of the DREAM Act are under consideration to come up for a vote in January. Some proposals include devastating provisions to family and diversity visa policies.

“We want our Representatives to understand that we will continue to fight as long and as hard as it takes to pass a clean DREAM Act, and to ensure that immigrant families are protected. Exchanging protections for DACA recipients for breaking up families is unacceptable," Benito said. ICIRR members will continue to organize and fight for the passage of a clean DREAM Act come January. Eighty-six percent of Americans support legislation that will keep DACAmented individuals in the U.S.

For more information about  ICIRR’s efforts to advance immigrant and refugee rights in Illinois and beyond, please visit  


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.