Tuesday May 14th, six undocumented DACA-elegible youth, and one undocumented mom took over the street in front of the Broadview Detention Center urging for elected officials to take a stance in favor of a suspension of deportations as a first step to comprehensive immigration reform. In Illinois, we believe part of the strategy is to aks our own Senator Durbin to take a stance urging President Obama to suspend deportations.
In 2010 Senator Durbin organized 22 Senators in 2010 to sign a letter addressed to the Department of Homeland Security and President Obama to suspend deportations of DREAM Act elegible youth. He could, at the very least, do the same thing for our parents while CIR is being discussed.
This is not the first time we ask. We have met with Senator Durbin several times, and have asked him specifically to take action on deportations. His response every time has been that he understands the suffering of families, has privately supported specific deportation cases, and is working on comprehensive immigration reform, but has refused to take a public stance on deportations.
Regarding the action, his office published a statement in response to our ask, according to a WBEZ’s article on the protest:
“[T]he senator was “instrumental in pushing the administration” to allow many young unauthorized immigrants to apply for work papers and a deportation reprieve under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama policy initiated last year. Durbin, the statement adds, is also working on the immigration bill as a member of the Senate panel. “The hope is that next month, the full Senate will begin debate on this common-sense, compromise proposal that will provide millions of immigrants with an accountable path to citizenship,” the statement says.”
The Immigrant Youth Justice League, the Latino Youth Action League, and other members of Undocumented Illinois who participated in the action respond to the statements from Senator Durbin’s office as follows:
We thank the support that DREAM Act elegible young people have received from Senator Durbin, as well as the work that he has done to include our parents in a comprehensive immigration reform bill. However, every day that CIR is being discussed, over 1,100 people are torn away from their families and divided by deportation. As an organization we work on supporting individuals and families facing deportations, and currently have several cases from Illinois residents who would be torn away from their families. Our communities cannot wait.
We ask that Senator Durbin be champion in urging President Obama to suspend deportations in the same manner that he was instrumental in stopping the deportations of young people and students. We urge him to follow the steps he took in 2010, asking support from other Senators, and pressuring President Obama and DHS to suspend deportations.
Although we support a general suspension of deportations, we understand that policy might have limitations. A letter paralleling the one from 2010, could call for a suspension of deportations of people who are low-priority under the prosecutorial discretion guidelines, or those who would qualify for immigration reform as proposed under the bill. We trust that Senator Durbin and his team can find appropriate language for the letter, ideally, with input from those directly affected by immigration and enforcement policies. .
As the Senator knows, undocumented students do not survive on their own. We are people who, like everyone else, deserve the right to be with our families without fear of deportation. Our current reality is that our families might not be here by the time CIR passes. We need a suspension of deportations now.
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Agree? Make a call yourself to Senator Durbin’s office urging him to take a stand in supporting action by President Obama to stop deportations. Call the Chicago Office: 312-353-4952; or the DC Office: 202-224-2152
Suggested script: “Hi. I am calling to thank Senator Durbin for fighting for immigration reform and being key helping stop the deportation of DREAMers. I want to ask that Senator Durbin continue to be our champion and help urge President Obama to suspend deportations of immigrants as a first step to immigration reform”