CHICAGO, IL —The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Family Focus, and FWD.us hosted a DACA renewal clinic on Nov. 16 with volunteer immigration attorneys, policy experts and community advocates. U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Illinois Rep. Lisa Hernandez, and Berwyn elected officials also attended to encourage and support eligible DACA recipients and answered questions on the latest news regarding the DACA case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Nov. 12 to determine if the Trump administration terminated the DACA program lawfully or not. As a result of the complex litigation in course, there is great concern in the DACA community on whether it is still possible to renew DACA. The clinic served as an opportunity to spread the message that DACA renewals are still being accepted and that the fight for DACA continues.
The clinic took place in Berwyn, Illinois where 52 DACA renewal applications were completed, of which 40 received scholarships funded by FWD.us to cover the renewal fees.
For the past two years, the Trump Administration has been attempting to end DACA, an incredibly successful program that currently allows nearly 700,000 hardworking young people to contribute more fully to our communities and our economy. In Illinois, there are over 34,800 DACA recipients, 15,200 U.S. citizen children who have one or both parents with DACA protections, and 85,000 people living in mixed-status families whose lives would be significantly impacted if this program is terminated.
DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to pursue higher education, buy homes and start businesses, advance their careers, and better provide for their families in the country they call home.
“We were with all the people who came to Washington, D.C. to appeal to the Supreme Court to do right by all of the DACA applicants and their families,” said Rep. Garcia at the DACA clinic event. “We don’t know what the court is going to do, however, we are going to double and triple our efforts to pass the DREAM and Promise Act, which is currently in the Senate. We also don’t want to leave anyone behind, including the parents and families of those with DACA.”
Rep. Hernandez echoed Rep. Garcia sentiments while adding that “Illinois will continue to support the Congressman’s actions at the federal level.” Rep. Hernandez, who has long led the fight in Illinois to make it a more welcoming state for immigrants and refugees, is also a strong advocate for ICIRR’s New Americans Initiative, which supports citizenship applications and DACA renewals.
Background on DACA Renewals:
Despite the legal twists and turns challenging the DACA program, current DACA recipients are still able to renew their protections because of the incredible efforts of so many advocates and young people.
This past July, FWD.us launched the DACA Renewals Now campaign, a long-term educational campaign and resource drive to support the nearly 700,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who are impacted by changes to the DACA program. The campaign, housed under Informed Immigrant and Inmigrante Informado, is helping to encourage and facilitate DACA renewals for Dreamers by driving donations to organizations working around renewals, raising public awareness, and partnering with organizations to offer other related services, such as renewal clinics.
The launch of the DACA Renewals Now campaign is FWD.us’ second DACA-related donations program. On June 28, FWD.us and GoFundMe announced a renewed partnership to boost donations to the Protect DACA Fund, a nationwide effort started in 2018 to provide support to DACA recipients across the country.
ICIRR’s program partners are holding a series of ongoing workshops and clinics for DACA recipients. The next major renewal event will be at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 20.