Emanuel Plans to Call on Rauner to Protect 'Dreamers' in Illinois - NBC Chicago
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Emanuel Plans to Call on Rauner to Protect 'Dreamers' in Illinois

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    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to introduce a resolution that calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner to establish an Illinois 'dreamers' bill of rights, which would allow immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children to be protected in the state. 

    Of the nearly 800,000 young immigrants given a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S. under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, more than 41,000 are in Illinois. 

    But Rauner said Wednesday he believes the issue should be addressed on a federal level. 

    "I do not believe this challenge for these children can be addressed on a state by state basis, I think that would not be correct, not be the right solution," he said during an unrelated press conference. "We need comprehensive immigration reform. It should be done at the federal level, for the entire nation, and it should be done by Congress." 

    The Trump administration announced Tuesday it had decided to end the Obama-era program.

    The government will stop processing new applications the program, but the administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program.

    Trump's aides painted his move to gradually phase out the program as the best of bad options: State officials had threatened a lawsuit if he did not act by Tuesday to repeal the program.

    "In effect, I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act," Trump said. He said he was not in favor of punishing children for the actions of their parents, but he added, "Young Americans have dreams, too."

    Some Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, were already saying Tuesday that it was time to figure out a permanent solution that accomodates people brought to the country as children.

    Emanuel denounced the decision in an earlier statement, calling it a "betrayal of more than 800,000 children."

    "President Trump’s decision to end DACA is not only harmful to these young people, it strikes a blow against our core American values and is an affront to basic human decency," Emanuel said in a statement. "It is a betrayal of more than 800,000 children who have done nothing wrong and of the unique role the United States has played in the world for centuries. The United States is a nation of immigrants, not a country that tears families apart or deports children who have placed their faith in the promise of America."

    Emanuel noted that he has hosted dreamers at his home for dinner in the past, and "you can see in their eyes and hear in their voices how much it means to them to be a part of the fabric of America." 

    Immigrants and activists around the country took to the streets Tuesday for a second day of protests in reaction to the DACA decision.

    In Chicago, Emanuel said the city will continue to welcome dreamers and "will pursue every legal option to protect our children, defend our immigrant communities and uphold the enduring promise of the American Dream.”

    Lawmakers are set to meet in Chicago's Loop Wednesday morning. 

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