Signing the Illinois DREAM Act was Gov. Pat Quinn’s job, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to get in on the act too. At Quinn’s invitation, Emanuel spoke at Monday’s bill signing ceremony at Benito Juarez High School on the Southwest Side.
The new law gives children of immigrants access to college scholarships, regardless of their family’s legal status. Emanuel, the son of Israeli immigrants, also issued his own press release, which emphasized that Chicago will become the world’s most immigrant-friendly city:
“Immigrants are a driving force in our city’s cultural and economic life, and opening the way for all Chicago students to earn an excellent higher education will make our city even stronger," said Mayor Emanuel. “I am proud that families and students across Illinois will now have a better shot at the American Dream — which starts with a great education.”
In July, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Chicago would launch an Office of New Americans, with the long-term goal of making Chicago the most immigrant-friendly city in the world. The Office of New Americans will be dedicated to engaging Chicago’s global immigrant communities through collaboration with community organizations, educational institutions and the private sector.
Here’s what the man who signed the DREAM Act had to say about it:
After the federal DREAM Act failed in Congress last year, ICIRR, along with the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), member organizations, and allies, worked to build broad support from religious and civic leaders, university presidents, and community organizations for the Illinois DREAM Act. This historic coalition of supporters won passage of the bill in both houses of the General Assembly in May with bipartisan support. The signing of this bill into law marks the successful culmination of these efforts and confirms that Illinois is not only an immigrant-friendly state but also a national leader on moving fair, humane, and practical solutions.
Interestingly, Quinn and Emanuel weren’t even on the same page as to the location of Benito Juarez High School.
Quinn’s press release listed it at 2120 S. Laflin St., while Emanuel’s had it at 1540 W. Cermak Rd. The school’s website lists the address as 1450-1510 W. Cermak Rd. So neither politician got it right, but Emanuel was closer.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, is available at Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!