dreamers2 061820 CHICAGO – In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, providing immigration protections and benefits for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, members of the Illinois Latino Caucus in the Senate released the following statements.

State Senator, Omar Aquino (D-Chicago), Co-Chair fo the Latino Caucus and Majority Whip

“The U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing by upholding the DACA program. Hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to this country, through no fault of their own, are protected under this Obama-era program. DACA participants are role model citizens: 90% of them have a job, many went to college and hold academic titles, and more than 29,000 are heroic health care professionals. They are an asset to the only country they know as their own, so we must protect them from deportation, because it’s the right thing to do for our nation.”

Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago), Assistant Majority Leader

“An immigrant’s livelihood should never be threatened; it should be celebrated. I commend undocumented immigrants on their courage to contribute to our society, even though their rights as workers are oftentimes challenged and vulnerable. I am thrilled by the court’s decision to continue support for Dreamers and hope to see the DACA Program permanently protected by Congress before it’s contested again.”

Tony Muñoz (D-Chicago), Assistant Majority Leader

“Dreamers have been productive residents in spite of constant hate and inhumane threats of deportation. This decision recognizes their humanity and provides long-awaited peace of mind regarding their immigration status. I hope they are able to get some rest tonight. We still have a long way to go to fix our country’s deeply flawed immigration system, but today’s decision is a step forward. The fight for the rights of undocumented immigrants will continue.”

Cristina Castro, (D-Elgin)

“Many Dreamers have established lives in this country with jobs and families, and deportation would risk completely uprooting that. They are undocumented through no fault of their own, and the purpose of DACA is to protect them. I’m so relieved that the decision made by the Supreme Court today is going to ensure their protection lasts. I’m grateful the majority on the Supreme Court put politics aside and opted to do what is best for the Dreamers, their families and the country.”

Celina Villanueva, (D-Chicago)

“DACA allows hundreds of thousands of people to access the things they need to provide for their families. The Supreme Court made the right decision by allowing DACA recipients to continue to be protected under the law. “DACAmented’ people are hard-working taxpayers who are American in everything but on paper. Now that DACA has been upheld by the Supreme Court, national leaders must take further action to give all undocumented people a permanent path toward citizenship so they can no longer be used as political leverage for the immigration debate.”

The program was implemented in 2012 under the Obama administration. It allows some undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children to receive a two-year renewable period of deportation deferment. It also gives them ability to obtain work permits. In order to be eligible, Dreamers cannot have serious felonies or misdemeanors on their criminal records. The program was expanded in 2014, and attempts to prevent the expansion were blocked by an evenly split Supreme Court.