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IL immigrant leaders' response to the 12th anniversary of DACA

Brandon Lee


Fri Jun 14 2024

On the 12th anniversary of DACA, IL immigrant leaders demand permanent solutions & pathway to legalization

CHICAGO – June 15 marks the anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In recognition of the anniversary, leaders in the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights shared the following statements.

Elizabeth Cervantes, director of organizing at Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, and vice-president of the ICIRR board of directors:

“DACA has been a lifeline for me and many immigrants across the country, but it’s insufficient. The program was created because immigrant youth dared to organize and demand relief for themselves and their families when Congress failed to do so. In 2012 this was meant to be a first step but Congress continues to delay action on immigration, access to DACA has been limited, and continued legal challenges threaten the program’s future. Through the years, it has become clear that stop-gap measures do not work and leave us vulnerable to racist and cruel presidential administrations. We need legalization for all — ourselves, our parents and the next generation. I’m no more deserving of protections or access to resources than anyone else, whether they are my neighbors, asylum seekers, or anyone facing immigration detention. We are here because this country, which is also my home, is abundantly able to take care of all communities, and we will continue to organize until we see that vision come true.”

Angel Ortiz, community leader with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, which is an ICIRR member and program partner:

“I never received DACA protections because my application was not processed before the courts blocked new approvals. It makes me both sad and angry that elected officials have continuously made the wrong choice and refused to enact relief for immigrants. These political decisions have kept many in our communities from pursuing our dreams and living our lives to the fullest. But while immigrants have waited far too long for relief, I know our communities are resilient. I continue to be hopeful because of our collective commitment to building community and growing our power to win both immediate relief and a pathway to legalization that we all deserve.”

Reminder: The DACA program remains closed to new applicants because of anti-immigrant court challenges. Those who currently have DACA can file renewals. Through ICIRR’s New Americans Initiative program, community organizations across the state of Illinois provide DACA renewal assistance as well as scholarships to cover renewal fees. Find a list of partners at

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