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Senate voices support for ‘Dreamers’ (AUDIO)

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Illinois Senators sent a message to the Trump administration and Congress this past week, urging the extension of an immigration program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to study and work in the United States without fear of deportation.

“I think we are aware of the fact that the Trump administration back on Sept. 5 indicated that he was intending to rescind the program, but has since reconsidered,” Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton said asking colleagues for support. “So, we are just simply urging the Trump administration and Congress to preserve the protections for the undocumented young people who are eligible.”

The Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program was created by President Barack Obama in 2012. So far, it has allowed nearly 800,000 young people who were brought to the United States illegally to remain in the country. To participate in the two-year, renewable program they had to apply to the federal government, cannot have any serious criminal histories, must have arrived in the country before 2007 and when they were younger than 16.

Generally, these are children brought to the United States at young ages by their parents and who have never known any other country as their home. This group of young people has become known as Dreamers.

President Donald Trump announced in September that he planned to end the program and gave Congress six months to come up with a new one, though he has somewhat backed away from that hardline position since.

The Illinois Senate voted to show its support for keeping the program, which affects roughly 42,000 young people in our state.

“I think it’s pretty well accepted that the studies have shown that our economy benefits from the DACA recipients who are residents of our state,” Cullerton said.

The resolution urging the continuation of the DACA program was overwhelmingly approved on a voice vote. It is Senate Resolution 864 and reads:

Urges President Donald J. Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Congress of the United States of America to preserve protections under DACA and to uphold the values of the United States and the State of Illinois of providing protection to vulnerable young people who have lived much of their lives in the United States, attended school in the United States, and made the United States their home.

Cullerton's comments in the Senate: