Following Bipartisan Failure on DREAM Act, Immigrant Leaders Refuse to Wait, Launch Platform to Protect Illinois Immigrants

February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018

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Demian Kogan, 773 910-1654
Fred Tsao, 312 332-7360 x213

Following Bipartisan Failure on DREAM Act, Immigrant Leaders Refuse to Wait, Launch Platform to Protect Illinois Immigrants

Focus on State and Local Advocacy, Nonpartisan Electoral Work

(Chicago, IL) Immigrant leaders and allies from across Illinois gathered under the banner of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to express frustration with Congressional and White House leaders for failing to reach a permanent solution for younger undocumented immigrants facing loss of their protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  “We’re less than one month away from the end of DACA on March 5,” said ICIRR Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Benito.  “We have no solution for the 800,000 DACA recipients whose lives are in limbo. This is an abysmal bi-partisan failure by our federal elected officials in response to a crisis created by the President. 

“We’re done waiting,” Benito continued.   We are re-doubling our efforts to register over 20,000 new voters, and organize to win more statewide protections across Illinois.”

Leaders from over a dozen organizations, along with state representative Lisa Hernandez, gathered to announce their plans to work in Springfield and in their local communities to win immigrant-friendly policies, and to focus on registering new immigrant voters and turning tens of thousands more voters out to the polls across Illinois in this year’s elections.

In Illinois, immigrant leaders continue to advocate for the DREAM Act or similar federal legislation to offer DACA grantees a path to permanent status and citizenship.  But in the face of continued federal gridlock, ICIRR leaders are also turning to opportunities on the state and local level.  They will unveil and discuss a platform for protection at a February 17 Immigrant Integration Summit and a February 28 Springfield advocacy day. Hundreds are expected in the Capitol at the end of the month to support the platform.   

“The inaction in DC strengthens our resolve to build upon our local successes,“ said Elizabeth Cervantes from the South Suburban Immigrant Project in Bolingbroke. “We saw what we’re capable of when we came together to organize for the passage of the Illinois TRUST Act last session. Collectively, we can beat the odds and do more to protect our communities. These efforts combined with our ambitious statewide voter engagement plan will ensure that the immigrant voice is heard loud and clear across our state this year.”   

Tomorrow Congress is expected to pass another temporary extension of the federal budget, again without the DREAM Act.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit