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Dream and Promise Act will help some, not all, immigrants in Illinois

Brandon Lee

773-259-5288 /

Thu Mar 18 2021

Dream and Promise Act will help some, not all, immigrants in Illinois

Immigrant rights leaders call on Illinois Senators to remove exclusionary bars from H.R. 6

CHICAGO -- In response to the passage of the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) in the U.S. House that would provide a pathway to citizenship for nearly 4 million, but includes provisions that will exclude even more of our community members than existing immigration law, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights issued the following statement:

“All immigrants in Illinois and across the nation deserve to live their lives with dignity and respect, and all immigration legislation should start from a place of equity that affirms our whole community. The Dream and Promise Act provides a path to citizenship for nearly 4 million people, some of whom have been fighting for citizenship for decades. This includes undocumented youth, TPS holders, and DED holders. That H.R. 6 passed the House is a win for our communities and a display of our work to make immigration a priority for President Biden and members of Congress.

“However, ICIRR and our members are deeply concerned about the provisions that exclude millions of our family members and neighbors who have previously interacted with the criminal legal system and make it impossible for them to attain citizenship. The ‘secondary review’ provision in H.R. 6 goes beyond the other immigration bills proposed this session. These provisions go several steps beyond current immigration law and reinforce the inequities in the criminal legal system, which over-polices, over-prosecutes, over-charges, and over-sentences immigrants and other people of color. The further consequence of barring immigrants from gaining lawful status and leaving them vulnerable to ICE enforcement and deportation even after they have already served their time acts as a form of double punishment on our community members. Rather than allowing immigrants to return to their communities so they can work, learn, and rebuild their lives, these bars lock immigrants out of these opportunities that come with access to citizenship.

“For the last four years, ICIRR has worked extensively to win protections for immigrants at the state and local levels in Illinois. In that time we won both the Illinois TRUST Act and amendments to the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance, which protect all immigrants no matter their history with the criminal legal system. Leaders in Illinois have shown how to craft policies that include all immigrants, and it is time for Congress to follow suit. We call on Senators Durbin and Duckworth to fight for the removal of these exclusionary bars in H.R. 6 and pass a bill that affirms and protects all of our community members.”

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