CHICAGO, IL – Today, U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley joined local area Dreamers at the Austin-Irving Public Library in Chicago to highlight the urgent threat of repeal to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In June, Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with counterparts from nine other states, sent a letter to President Trump calling for him to terminate DACA. The letter asserted that if the administration agrees to phase out this program, the threat of a lawsuit will be dropped. Participants at today’s press conference discussed the important contributions that Dreamers have made to the United States, the devastating impact of a potential DACA repeal, and the need for the bipartisan DREAM Act, which would create a legalization process for roughly two million hardworking young people who came here as minors.
During the press conference, Congressman Quigley affirmed his commitment to support Dreamers and reiterated the urgency of defending the over 41,000 DACA recipients residing in Illinois. He was joined by local area Dreamers who shared the immeasurable impact of the DACA program on the lives of their families and their communities.
Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL)
David Adeleye, Midwest Organizing Director, FWD.us
Yuriana Aguilar, Physiology and Biophysics Instructor, DACA Recipient
Gosia Labno, Communications Fellow, DACA Recipient
Manu Gonza, Data Analytics Consultant, DACA Recipient
Asael Reyes, Student, DACA Recipient
Chirayu Patel, Project Manager, DACA Recipient
Prior to the press conference, the group convened at a roundtable to discuss the importance of Dreamers, examined the legislative priorities surrounding immigration reform and shared ways that the advocacy community can work with the Congressman going forward.
Illinois is home to approximately 41,000 DACA recipients, most of whom are either students pursuing education or gainfully employed as teachers, engineers, architects and health care workers, among other occupations. Eliminating the deferred action program would remove almost 800,000 workers from the U.S. workforce at a cost of $460 billion in national GDP lost over the next decade, and Illinois’ economy would lose an immense $2.2 billion dollars over the same period.
Quotes from participants are below:
“Young DREAMers who love our country and want to contribute to its collective success should not fear being torn away from their family and loved ones,” said Rep. Quigley. “It was inspiring to hear from Chicago DACA recipients, who shared their stories and ambitions with me today. Allowing DREAMers to stay in the only home they’ve ever known will help America grow and thrive, and I am committed to protecting their future through my efforts in Congress.” — Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL)
“Earning DACA has given me the privilege to have what many Americans take for granted: a Social Security Number, which allows me to legally live, work and study in the United States. Because of the DACA program, I was able to further my education and become the first undocumented person to earn a Ph.D. from the University of California at Merced. Today, I work closely with many U.S.-born students at Rush Medical College, helping them get one step closer to their academic and professional dreams. My career – and my ability to give back to this country – depends on the protections provided by the DACA program, so I’m asking elected officials to fight for its continuation and pass the DREAM Act so I can contribute here permanently.” — Yuriana Aguilar, Physiology and Biophysics Instructor, and DACA recipient
“DACA allows countless young undocumented Americans to legally work in the United States. My parents left their home so that their children could do better. Without DACA, that American dream would be impossible to fulfill.” — Gosia Labno, Communications Fellow and DACA recipient
“Dreamers play a crucial role in our society. These individuals are teachers, students dedicated to earning their degrees, healthcare practitioners, entrepreneurs and engineers. Dreamers have demonstrated their commitment to this country and should not live in fear of having this vital program revoked. The elimination of DACA would have devastating consequences, not only for Illinois, but for the 800,000 recipients living across the country, and for the millions of Americans who live, work and study with them every single day.” — FWD.us President Todd Schulte