Sen. Richard Durbin and Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois held a press conference yesterday to announce a series of workshops to be held on October 6 across Chicago that will enable young immigrants to determine if they are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and help them to sign up if they are. The two leaders described the series of workshops as a “surge” strategy to help meet the tremendous demand for information and assistance on the deportation relief and work authorization program for young immigrants brought to the United States as children.
“Since I first wrote the DREAM Act over a decade ago, I’ve met with countless young people who only want a chance to earn a chance to live and work without fear in the country they call home,” Durbin said. He praised President Obama’s program, saying, “President Obama’s deferred action policy gives many of them that chance. These young peoples’ entry into the workforce will also give American companies a chance to draw from their untapped talent. With such great humanitarian and economic benefits, we need to ensure that every young dreamer who qualifies for DACA knows exactly what they need to do in order to be considered. At last month’s DREAM Relief Day we saw such a high demand for help with applications that we weren’t able to assist all students. With the workshops planned for the coming weeks and months, we hope to give them the guidance they need.”
“The first people who applied in August are beginning to get their approvals,” Rep. Gutierrez said. “We want to make sure everyone who can apply in the Chicago area gets all the information and help they need to apply. This is a great opportunity and we have found that the more visible DREAMers and other immigrants become, the harder it is for politicians to ignore them. I see signing up for Deferred Action as the first step for the broader immigrant community to come forward, make themselves known, and get into the system and on-the-books.”
Several Chicago-area immigrants who have already applied for Deferred Action joined the Senator and the Congressman at the press conference and encouraged their fellow DREAMers to apply.
Senator Durbin and Rep. Gutierrez are hoping to make Chicago a model for other communities by signing up the highest percentage of local eligible applicants for the program.