ICIRR Receives Criticism Over Dream Relief Day

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Moratorium on Campaign (MDC) Rozalinda Borcila speaks to a crowd of reporters Tuesday criticizing Congressman Luis Gutierrez and ICIRR for misleading undocumented youth who are set to apply for the Deferred Action Plan.

A group of supporters and members of the Moratorium on Campaign (MDC) launched a campaign Tuesday afternoon to hold President Barack Obama, Congressman Luis Gutierrez and the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) accountable for misleading the undocumented community in regards to Deferred Action plan, which was unveiled earlier in the summer.

“ICIRR and Congressman Luis Gutierrez have been misleading the public about the benefits and risks of Deferred Action for youth,” said Jose Herrera, member of MDC. “Homeland Security documents clearly state that even people who meet all the criteria outline by [Homeland Security Secretary] Janet Napolitano may be rejected and turned over to [Immigrant and Customs Enforcement] I.C.E., and that deportation proceedings may be initiated against them at the discretion of the government.

Herrera, alongside fellow MDC member Rozalinda Borcila, brought to light their dissatisfaction with ICIRR’s CEO Lawrence Benito who released a statement earlier this month that encouraged every undocumented youth who fits the criteria to take advantage of this ‘great opportunity.’ The announcement, according to Herrera and Borcila, also stated that undocumented youth would be ‘free from deportation.’

“This statement is dangerously false,” said Borcila. “Deferred action offers no protection from deportation. ICIRR and Congressman Gutierrez have been recruiting people into an uncertain situation and using people as guinea pigs. There were several ways President Obama could have exercised his executive power to make something more permanent for our undocumented community. However, he chose to create this policy that doesn’t offer much.”

The campaign came a day before ICIRR hosted its much anticipated Dream Relief Day, in which scores of undocumented youth attended to file the Deferred Action plan application and seek one-on-one consultations with lawyers who volunteered during the event. “We are not discouraging undocumented youth to apply, we are simply stating that they study the policy more closely and seek different opinions before applying,” said Borcila.

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