CHICAGO (CBS) — With the Trump administration ending the DACA program, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but the governor said immigration reform is up to Congress.
The mayor has vowed to protect so-called “Dreamers” in Chicago, and plans to introduce a City Council resolution calling on the governor to establish what Emanuel calls an “Illinois Dreamers’ Bill of Rights.”
Emanuel wants the state to provide Dreamers with access to financial aid and scholarships, professional licenses, and job certifications; as well as protection against deportation.
Rauner said young immigrants who stand to lose DACA protections should not be left in limbo, but the governor will not take up Emanuel’s call for an “Illinois Dreamers’ Bill of Rights.”
“I do not believe this challenge for these children can be addressed on a state-by-state basis. I think that would not be correct, not be the right solution. We need a comprehensive immigration reform. It should be done at the federal level for the entire nation, and should be done by Congress,” Rauner said.
Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said the mayor’s idea of a Dreamers’ Bill of Rights “is something that Governor Rauner should have immediately jumped on.”
“You take a look at New York, and Governor Cuomo filed a lawsuit, is filing a lawsuit to protect Dreamers,” he said.
Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th), who is running for lieutenant governor as Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss’ running mate in the 2018 governor’s race, said more needs to be done than symbolic resolutions.
“Now is the moment for substance; ordinances and legislation,” he said.
Immigration activists have estimated 42,000 undocumented immigrants in Illinois qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. About 16,000 of those young immigrants known as Dreamers live in Chicago.
Many of them joined supporters at Federal Plaza on Tuesday, to protest the White House’s announcement that the DACA program is being rescinded.