Here’s an email from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus that some might find of interest:
Earlier today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced the attached resolution calling on Governor Bruce Rauner and the State of Illinois to establish a “Bill of Rights” for individuals covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) Policy which will be rescinded in six months. The Bill of Rights would guarantee additional protections for so-called “Dreamers” against deportation as well as access to state scholarships/financial aid and state certifications/license needed for certain jobs. There are currently 40,000 DACA youth that live, work and study in Illinois, the greater majority of which are in the metropolitan Chicago region.
Mayor Emanuel has asked us to extend an invitation to you to join him in being a signatory to a letter to the Governor urging the State of Illinois to do all it can to remain a welcoming place for DACA youth. The letter is still being drafted, but it will include similar language to what is used in the attached resolution and press release.
If you are interested in adding your name to the letter, please let me know. I have asked the Mayor’s Office to provide the final draft so I can forward it to you for your review before it is sent.
In addition, the Mayor’s Office is interested to know whether individual municipalities in the region are considering adopting a resolution similar to the one introduced today to the Chicago City Council. They are interested in partnering with you on other efforts to protect the Dreamers. If this is something that you would and your community would be interested, please let me know and I will pass word onto the City
Dave Bennett, Exec. Dir., Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
P.S. The resolution presented at the Chicago City Council, calls on the Governor and State to enact the following to protect Dreamers:
- Ensure that Dreamers can remain in their jobs: In Illinois, Dreamers can become bar-certified attorneys but lack access to licenses and certifications in other fields such as health care, education, social work, and real estate. Governor Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly should change the law to allow Dreamers to enter additional professions and remain in those professions even after DACA expires.
- Strengthen deportation protections for Dreamers: In December of 2016, Mayor Emanuel invested $1.3 million in a legal defense fund that has provided assistance to more than 14,000 Chicago residents and trained 350 Chicagoans to serve as “community navigators” that help guide their neighborhoods through the immigration process. Illinois must establish its own legal protection fund to build upon the protections offered to Chicago residents through the City’s fund.
- Tighten protections in the newly-passed Illinois Trust Act: Governor Rauner recently signed the Illinois Trust Act into law and established important protections for undocumented residents. The law prohibits local governments from detaining undocumented residents on behalf of ICE. At the same time, the Trust Act allows home rule municipalities to opt out of the law and permits governments to communicate with ICE about detained individuals prior to their release. Governor Rauner and the General Assembly should strengthen the Trust Act to prohibit any cooperation or communication with ICE when it comes to Dreamers and disallow any local governments from exempting themselves from these new Dreamer protections.
- Allow more Dreamers to go to college: Today, the State of Illinois does not allow Dreamers to access financial aid or scholarships to attend college at a more affordable price. As part of the Emanuel Administration’s Star Scholar Program, Dreamers that graduate from the Chicago Public Schools with a B average can attend any of the seven City Colleges of Chicago with a full tuition scholarship that covers books. Governor Rauner must follow Chicago’s lead by fighting to pass the Student Access Bill (SB2196), which would open up state aid programs to nearly 2,000 Dreamers. And the State should also review and strengthen tax incentives for individuals to donate to scholarship funds that support Dreamers.