Fighting for the DREAM

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, presidents of Illinois Universities, community organizations and immigrant youth joined together Friday at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to push for passage of the Illinois and the federal DREAM Acts. “The momentum behind the DREAM Act in Illinois is a testament to the growing political power of the immigrant rights movement in our state,” said Lawrence Benito, ICIRR Deputy Director.

Sen. Durbin reintroduced the federal DREAM Act (S. 592) Wednesday, a bill that would enable undocumented students – brought to the U.S. as children – to earn legal status by continuing their education or serving in the military. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined Sen. Durbin to push for both the federal bill and the Illinois DREAM Act. Last week, the state Senate passed the Illinois DREAM Act by a bipartisan 45-11 margin. “I am encouraged by the Senate passage of the Illinois DREAM Act and have been calling legislators to urge its approval in the House,” said Mayor Emanuel. “It’s time for Illinois to point the way towards immigration reform that reflects our core values of fairness and equality of opportunity.”

The Illinois DREAM Act would establish—using no tax dollars—a privately-funded Illinois DREAM Fund to give scholarships to talented undocumented youth who would otherwise find it difficult to continue on to higher education. Former Alderman Manny Flores pledged to be the first contributor to the Illinois DREAM Fund once enacted, promising $45,000 from his campaign fund.

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