By Laura Katauskas | Staff Reporter
With circumstances unknown, local agencies are preparing to provide information for those affected by the termination of DACA, the program that allows children of those who entered the United States illegally to remain.
DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created on June 15, 2012, as a program that allows qualifying people to work legally in the United States without being deported.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced Tuesday that DACA, will be phased out and be terminated by March 6, 2018, impacting 800,000 young immigrants who came to the United States as children, 42,000 of them who reside in Illinois.
Local Bolingbrook agency Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project sent a statement denouncing “the decision made by the administration, and urges congress to find a permanent solution, that does not further criminalize the parents of DACA recipients and other undocumented people.”
SSIP also is calling on local leadership and the widespread communities of Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Woodridge, and surrounding suburbs to issue statements of support and protection for immigrant youth that will be directly impacted both immediately and consequently.
“We knew this day would come, it was a matter of time. It is a very tough reality to admit, though, said SSIP’s Director of Organizing, Elizabeth Cervantes. “SSIP, however, is committed to the continued advocacy, education and civic engagement of undocumented youth and families in the suburbs. The decision will not halt our efforts, because we learned how to fight, we learned how to win, and that’s something that no one can take away from us.”
Congressman Bill Foster also issued a statement regarding President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program.
“I strongly condemn any attempt to end this program and make DREAMers feel unsafe. The United States is the only home many of these young people have ever known and their presence has made our country stronger,” Foster said. “DREAMers have also had a positive economic impact in the United States. Reports suggest that they add $460 billion to our national GDP. It’s clear that the President fails to appreciate the important contributions these Americans make to our country’s rich diversity and economic prosperity.”
According to Foster, in 2012, the Obama administration established the DACA program to allow individuals who came to the United States as undocumented minors remain in the United States. Since the program launched, an estimated 788,000 received work permits. An estimated 1.7 million people are eligible to benefit from this program.
In the next month, SSIP will be hosting open informational sessions on the decision and a DACA renewal workshop for those in the window before Oct. 5. For more information on these community events, for mental health resources, or for ways in which you can help, follow SSIPChicago on Facebook, or call 630-296-6755.