FWD.us Statement on Mississippi House Bill 387

Posted by FWD.us Press on 03/14/2018

WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us Senior Director of Criminal Justice Reform Zoë Towns issued the following statement today on the passage of Reentry & Employability Reforms (HB 387) in Mississippi:

“We applaud Mississippi Senate President Tate Reeves (R), House Speaker Philip Gunn (R), Representative Andy Gipson (R), Representative Joel Bomgar (R), and Senator Jenifer Branning (R) for their leadership in passing House Bill 387, a bipartisan solution that makes urgently needed reforms to the state’s broken criminal justice system.

“While Mississippi has made strides in recent years in safely reducing crime and incarceration, significant challenges remain, including for those reentering the community from prison or jail. House Bill 387 will ease this transition and reduce recidivism by prohibiting the use of jail for nonpayment of fees and fines, allowing supervision officers to use video call technology to conduct check-ins with minimal disruption to employment, and expanding parole eligibility for those convicted of nonviolent crimes. Additionally, the bill will lay the groundwork for further critical reform, by creating the Mississippi Sentencing Disparity Task Force.

“With the passage of HB 387, Mississippi has doubled-down on its commitment to criminal justice reforms that build safer communities and foster stronger families. We look forward to the Governor’s signature, and celebrating this victory for and with all Mississippians.”

FWD.us Statement on Continued Effort by Reps. Valadao, Denham to Pass Legislation to Permanently Protect Dreamers

Posted by FWD.us Press on 03/14/2018

WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us Communications Director Peter Boogaard issued the following statement today on the continued effort by Republican Reps. David Valadao and Jeff Denham to pass legislation to permanently protect Dreamers:

“We applaud the continued efforts of Reps. Valadao and Denham to pass legislation to permanently shield Dreamers from deportation. H.Res. 774, introduced today by both lawmakers, would force Congress to actually vote on four immigration proposals including the bipartisan USA Act, which would permanently protect Dreamers while enhancing border security.

“Only Congress can solve the urgent crisis facing Dreamers and millions of their loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Each day we wait is another day where many more DACA-recipients lose their work permits and critical deportation protections, placing them at risk of removal to countries they may not even remember. Dreamers are doing their jobs every day, and it’s time for Congress to step up and do theirs.”

FWD.us Highlights Chaos and Continuing Uncertainty for Dreamers in New Memo to Members of Congress

Posted by FWD.us Press on 03/13/2018

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, FWD.us sent a memo to Members of Congress highlighting the unstable environment that ongoing legal challenges and Congressional inaction have created for Dreamers. The memo, entitled “Severe Instability and Fragility of Protection for DACA Recipients,” highlights the reality that misleading press reports are obscuring critical facts surrounding the state of Dreamers, as well as the massive impact of Congressional inaction on Dreamers’ lives.


In January, federal court orders required USCIS to resume processing DACA renewal applications; while this development has allowed many Dreamers to extend their DACA authorizations, these protections are temporary, could end at any time, and do not provide the permanent solution Dreamers need to continue living, working, and contributing to the only country they call home.


Last week, after months of stalling, Congress missed the the March 5th deadline given by President Trump when he ended the DACA program six months earlier. For more than 22,000 DACA recipients, this has meant falling out of status, losing their previously valid work authorization, and being forced to leave their jobs. Congress must use the omnibus spending bill on March 23 as an opportunity to pass a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers. Dreamers are students, teachers, entrepreneurs, and engineers who make meaningful and substantial economic and cultural contributions to communities across the nation every day. Dreamers have waited in limbo for our elected leaders to do their job and take a vote.


The memo states: “As members of Congress, you can end this unnecessary limbo and provide a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers, once and for all. It is common sense that Congress cannot rely on the courts to protect Dreamers in the long-term and holds the responsibility to resolve this issue of national importance.”


Americans overwhelmingly support Dreamers and want Congress to pass a legislative solution that allows these hardworking individuals to continue working, living, and contributing to this country. For months, President Trump has repeatedly said that Dreamers have nothing to worry about. To end their uncertainty and fear, Members of Congress shouldn’t miss another opportunity to pass permanent legislative protections for Dreamers. Congress should vote on bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers as soon as possible. They cannot afford to delay any longer.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin Joins Chicago-Area Business Leaders, DACA Recipients to Discuss Current Immigration Issues

Posted by FWD.us Press on 03/09/2018

CHICAGO, IL – Today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin joined Chicago business leaders and DACA recipients to highlight the important impact of immigrants and Dreamers in the Chicago community. During a roundtable discussion at Microsoft Technology Centers in Chicago, participants discussed the economic impact of legal immigration and the need to protect and expand opportunities for immigrants to continue to contribute to our communities and economy.

During the dialogue, former Director of USCIS, Leon Rodriguez, conveyed the value and energy that Dreamers and other immigrant communities contribute to this nation, the economy and their families. Senator Durbin also affirmed his commitment to support Dreamers and reiterated the urgency of defending the over 41,000 DACA recipients residing in Illinois.

“The DACA program has given hundreds of thousands of young people a chance to come out of the shadows and contribute more fully to the country call home. We’ve witnessed them graduate college, start businesses, and give back to their communities in many ways,” Senator Durbin said. “The need for the Dream Act is no less urgent following the Supreme Court’s decision, which does not change the reality that tens of thousands of Dreamers are losing their work permits and protection from deportation. This crisis isn’t going away, and I will not rest until these young people and their families have the future in America that they deserve.”

The roundtable comes days after the March 5th deadline given to congress by President Trump to pass legislative protections for Dreamers. Chirayu Patel, DACA recipient and Asset Manager said, “I hope that Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle can come together to find a solution to protect Dreamers so that I can continue to work on my dreams and contribute to my community. This uncertainty means desperation from the educational conference that I started over 10 years ago and is attended by over 1000 high school students from across the country. However, I am still not deterred and with support of fellow Dreamers and friends I will continue to build my life in the only country I know as home.”

At the roundtable, speakers representing Illinois’ business and tech companies called for Congress to take immediate action before nearly 800,000 Dreamers lose their work authorization and become priorities for deportation to countries they barely remember. Fiona McEntee, Founder of McEntee Law Group said, “As an immigrant, an immigration attorney for over 10 years, and a mother of two young children, I see first-hand the positive impact the Dreamers have in our lives, our community, our country. Congress needs to step up and allow them to finally feel secure in the only place they have ever known as home. Now is the time to protect our Dreamers. Congress must act now.”

The overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers because they understand that they make meaningful contributions to the wellbeing of the social and economic fabric of our nation. They are parents and students, engineers, nurses, and entrepreneurs.

“We are committed to fighting for a permanent legislative solution to ensure that these young people can continue to live, work, and contribute to communities across the United States without the daily fear of deportation,” said David Adeleye, Midwest Director, FWD.us. “Our nation — and these Dreamers — deserve better. 86% of Americans are behind them. No bill will be perfect, but inaction in the face of this crisis is unacceptable.”

Illinois alone stands to lose an immense $2.2 billion in GDP over the next decade if these hardworking individuals are torn from their families and ripped away from the workforce.

Additional quotes from today’s roundtable participants:

“The two restaurants I own in Chicago were built on the American dream. Thinking about how that dream could be demolished because of Congress’ inability to act is heartbreaking. I hope Congress can come to a solution soon for Dreamers so we can continue to contribute to the only place we call home.” – Rick Rodriguez, DACA recipient and Founder, Son of a Butcher and WHISK

“Over 80% of the American people support citizenship for Dreamers. Now is the time for Congress to act to pass legislation overwhelmingly backed by our fellow Americans!” – Bob Palay, Past Chairman & CEO, Cellular Dynamics International

“Dreamers are no less American than you or I. They’ve embraced our values by every measure, they pay over $2B in taxes, they fill jobs in high demand. This is awful for business, it’s immoral to do, and it’s antithetical to all that America is supposed to represent.” – Steven Dyme, Co-founder & CEO, Flowers for Dreams

“Immigrants make up a valuable part of Chicago’s workforce and economy – over 20 percent of all business owners in the Chicago metropolitan area are immigrants. We must encourage those in office to find a solution for the Dreamers who are an integral part of Chicago’s diversity, workforce and rich culture.” – Michael Reever, SVP for Strategy and Government Relations, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce