Community organizers for Teach For America’s Chicago-Northwest Indiana region and Illinois for Educational Equity are hosting an informational town hall to provide information about the nation’s immigration policy on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Chavez Elementary Multicultural Academy, 4747 S. Marshfield Ave.
The town hall comes in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s stunning announcement that he would be putting an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Organizers intend to quell speculation and fear that misinformation from Trump’s announcement has caused by providing a safe and secure place to get answers, voice opinions, join with allies, and more.
Taylor Beale, ILEE Community Organizer, said more than 10,000 families will be impacted by DACA being rescinded including 190 teachers. She said the uncertainty around immigration policy has put an “unbearable” amount of stress on those impacted, which is why the town hall was planned. She said one of the narratives she and others are battling against is one where Dreamers were brought to the United States because their parents committed a crime as opposed to the narrative where parents of different nations decided to bring their families to the United States in pursuit of a better life.
“We wanted to make sure members are getting correct, updated information on that,” said Beale. “We are also speaking to community leaders who are already involved around this issue and leading the effort. We wanted to make sure that we are aware of the type of resources for themselves and that they can offer to their families and students who may directly be affected by this issue and that they also have an understanding as to how to be an ally in this work.”
Beale clarified that concerns over DACA and related legislation is not limited to just the Latino community, in fact, African, Asian, Pacific Islander, and European communities are too swept up in the legislation.
According to Beale, the town hall is scheduled to feature several testimonials from individuals impacted by DACA, details about federal legislation, a panel discussion, and more. She estimated 100 attendees will be present for the town hall – a number which may have grown since she spoke to the Defender over a week ago.
Beale said there are active pieces of legislation in Congress that intend to address this issue. However, not all elected officials in Illinois are in support of DACA or related pieces of legislation. She noted that U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) among others have not lent his support.
Rep. Bost released the following statement on his official website:
“Policies are only as durable as the process through which they are created. The confusion and uncertainty regarding the legal status of individuals affected by DACA is due in large part to the Obama administration’s insistence on sidestepping congressional authority. The House has already taken steps to make America safer, secure our borders and end sanctuary cities, but serious work remains. It is my sincere hope that the House and Senate, in coordination with the president, will find a just and reasonable solution for those affected by the DACA program, while also underscoring the importance of the rule of law.”
Listed below are additional pieces of federal legislation that provide protections and/or pathways to citizenship for undocumented individuals:
American Hope Act of 2017
U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) sponsored the American Hope Act of 2017 on July 28 which, according to its summary, will amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 by giving states the power to offer higher-education benefits to state residents regardless if they are documented United States citizens or otherwise. Also, the American Hope Act of 2017 requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cease any attempts to remove an individual and changes an individual’s status if they arrived in the United States as a child before 2017.
For more information on this the American Hope Act of 2017 visit:
Recognizing America’s Children Act
Sponsored by U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) on March 9, according to its summary, the Recognizing America’s Children Act calls for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cease any attempts to remove any individual(s) and adjust their status to “conditional nonimmigrant” for an initial period of five years for an “alien” that fits a specific criteria.
For more information on Recognizing America’s Children Act visit: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1468
Dream Act of 2017
Sponsored by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on July 20, according to its summary, the Dream Act would call on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cease any attempts to remove any individual(s) based on a series of requirements including being younger than 18 years old prior to arriving in the United States, living within the United States for four years prior to the bill’s enforcement, among others.
For more information on the Dream Act of 2017 visit:
Individuals interested in attending the event, may register online: