Mayor McNamara, Dreamers, Local Leaders Call on Rep. Adam Kinzinger to Pass the DREAM Act

For Immediate Release   Contact: Nicky Vogt,
November 2, 2017   

Rockford, IL Mayor McNamara, Dreamers, Local Leaders Call on Rep. Adam Kinzinger to Pass the Dream Act

A recording of today’s call is available here

Rockford, IL  – Today, Rockford, IL Mayor Tom McNamara joined local Dreamers and leaders to discuss why a legislative solution for Dreamers is so urgent for Illinois and America, and to call on Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) to pass the Dream Act. In Illinois, there are more than 42,000 DACA recipients whose futures and opportunities to fully contribute to their communities are threatened by President Trump’s decision to end the popular and successful DACA program. In Representative Kinzinger’s district alone, there are over 1,000 DACA-eligible residents, and the annual GDP loss from removing DACA workers would amount to approximately $37.7 million in the district. The Center for American Progress estimates that Illinois has 96,000 Dream Act-eligible individuals in the workforce and would see annual state GDP gains between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion from passage of the Dream Act.

This call comes as tens of thousands of Dreamers will lose DACA because of an arbitrary deadline created by the Trump administration for 154,000 Dreamers to renew their status. If Congress can’t pass the Dream Act, then it must be included in the bill that funds the government in December. A recording of today’s call is available here.

Rockford, IL Mayor Thomas P. McNamara, said, “Rockford has a rich history of immigrants with a long and proud legacy of building this community from the ground up. Their contributions to our community are strong, and I’m concerned that the Trump Administration’s recent action will impede the progress we have made. I’m urging our members of Congress to collaborate on a legislative solution that provides a clear path to citizenship.”

German, DACA-recipient and Rockford, IL resident, said, “The lives and future of Dreamers is something that should not be politicized. I am the father of three young U.S. Citizen children, which means that my family needs the Dream Act to stay together. Congress needs to pass the Dream Act as soon as possible so that I can continue to work, pay my taxes, and meet my financial obligations – like making payments on my home in Rockford.”

Christian, DACA-recipient and Rockford, IL resident, said, “I came to the U.S. at age 11.  I love the U.S. and want to build my future here.  DACA opened a lot of doors for me and gave me a purpose that I had lost. I am now working full time, supporting myself, driving, and going to college part time. I want to earn a degree where I can help people. With the end of DACA, I feel like the life support that DACA offered has been taken away and a DNR has been signed for me and so many others. I want to be part of this beautiful country, and I ask my Representative Adam Kinzinger to support a clean Dream Act so that I can contribute to a better future for my town, my county, my state, and this country that I love."

Luke Hwang, DACA-mented leader, HANA Center, said,  “Along with so many other young adults with DACA across the nation, I fear we will perpetually live in limbo. DACA enabled me to pursue a PhD in chemistry and gave me a new sense of hope and empowerment. Please fairly protect us and nurture us, so we can continue to give back to this great country we call home.”

Josephine Minor, League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford, said,  “The LWVGR and LWVIL and the LWVUS are all asking Congress to pass a clean Dream Act. LWVGR believes that DACA recipients are an integral and productive part of our community. They are our neighbors, our students, our children, and they know no other country than the USA. They have done nothing wrong. It is unconscionable that they should fear deportation to an unknown country.”

Reverend Nayoung Ha, Organizing Director, HANA Center, said, “More than 150 faith leaders in Illinois have signed on the letter, Faith for Dream to urge IL Congressional Delegation to support a clean Dream Act. IL is home to 42,000 DACA recipients; they are our friends, our neighbors, we worship among them, they are our brothers and sisters, and we are their keepers. Our faith unambiguously commands us to defend the dignity of human beings: of immigrants, of refugees and of all vulnerable populations. As faith leaders, we commit to struggle alongside them and defend them. As a legislator we call on Congressman Kinzinger to do the same.

“We urge Congressman Kinzinger to support or co-sponsor a clean Dream Act. Dream Act covers almost 400,000 more young people than RAC Act. Also under RAC Act a young person has to go to school until completion of degree or work for four consecutive years to qualify to become a lawful permanent resident. Many DACAmented young people are low income so have to take time off from school to work and then go back to school when they can afford it. The RAC Act does not allow this kind of flexibility, but the Dream Act does. This is why we need Congressman Kinzinger to support a clean Dream ACT in addition to RAC Act."

Fred Tsao, Senior Policy Counsel, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said, “ICIRR and our over 100 member organizations are once again pushing for the immediate passage of a clean version of the DREAM Act, which will finally give some immigrants a pathway to citizenship. Without it, immigrants who had been protected by DACA could face deportation. We are calling on Rep Kinzinger and all members of Congress to keep families together and allow immigrants to thrive.”

Dr. Vernese Edghill-Walden, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer, Northern Illinois University, said, “Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees, Acting President Freeman and senior leadership continue to support our undocumented and DACA students. We continue to encourage congress to find a legislative solution to best support our students.”

Ms. Sandy Lopez, Advisor for DREAM Action NIU and Assistant to the Director of the NIU Center for Latino and Latin American Studies, said, “The loss of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will impact NIU student’s ability to pay for higher education as they do not qualify for federal or state funding and cannot apply for government loans. It will also impede undocumented students from enrolling at NIU and other institutions of higher education. DREAM ACTION NIU, a NIU student organization, is actively advocating for this legislative solution.”

Press ReleaseHANA Center