Undocumented immigrants in Chicago will soon have an opportunity to apply for temporary relief of immigration law enforcement under a directive issued by the White House in June.
"It's a big day for me, but it's a much much bigger day for these young people," Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday.
One of those young people is Pedro Pedroza. The Cornell University graduate and community activist was brought to the U.S. by his parents at the age of four. Immigration officials have been taking steps to deport him since 2008.
"I was detained in upstate New York on my way to Cornell University, nearby Ithaca, New York," he said. "Two days later, after being detained, I was starting college."
"It is a safe space for undocumented youth and their allies," said Pedroza.
To be eligible under the directive, immigrants must have came into the country before the age of 16, are currently under 30 years of age, have a clean criminal record, have lived in the U.S. for five years, and who are currently in school, have graduated high school, or who have served in the military.
The directive is a step in the right direction for Durbin, who introduced the DREAM act and said recently he is confident it will pass eventually.
"We're going to find a very diverse group of young people, anxious to be part of the future of America," Durbin said.