Rep. Foster Fights To Protect ‘DREAMERS’
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) voted against H.R. 2217, an appropriations bill which included a “poison pill” amendment that would attempt to expedite the deportation of Dreamers, children brought into the country illegally while under the age of 16.
The amendment would prohibit funds from being used for the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, which is modeled after Senator Durbin’s DREAM Act, allows young immigrants brought to the United States as children a chance to apply for a two-year renewable work permit and exemption from deportation.
“We shouldn’t be pushing away talented young students from the only home they have ever known, we should give them a chance to succeed and become productive members of our communities,” said Foster. “While there are many important funding provisions in H.R. 2217 that I support, I cannot support attempts from House Republicans to gut the DACA program, which is giving hope and opportunity to thousands of bright young children, including many in the 11th District. All of these children are given a path to citizenship in the bipartisan immigration reform bill under consideration in the Senate, and forcing their immediate deportation makes no sense at all. I will work to ensure that this divisive amendment will be removed from the final version of homeland security appropriations before it reaches the President’s desk.”
Under DACA, certain young immigrants brought to the country by their parents may apply for deferred action – a temporary form of relief from deportation for a period of two years, subject to renewal – and for work authorization. Those young people must have come to the United States under the age of sixteen; have lived in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007; be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED or been honorably discharged from the military; have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or misdemeanors and not pose a threat to public safety; and be 30 years old or younger as of June 15, 2012.
As of March 14, more than 23,000 young people in Illinois had applied for DACA and nearly 18,000 applicants had already been approved, the fourth-highest total of any state. Nationally, more than 453,000 people have applied and more than 245,000 applications have been approved.
More information on the DACA application process is available here.