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Hundreds To Rally Downtown Amid DACA Rescission's 'Gut-Wrenching Betrayal Of American Values'

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 5, 2017 4:45PM

Photo: Tyler LaRiviere

A potentially large-scale, pro-DACA rally is set for Tuesday evening downtown as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as expected, announced today that the program—which protects from deportation some 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children—will be "rescinded" within six months.

Even before the official announcement was made by the Trump administration, more than one thousand people had responded on Facebook that they will attend the rally/press conference, which takes place at Federal Plaza (230 S. Dearborn St.) at 5:30 p.m.

"Individuals who will be impacted" by the Trump administration's decision will offer testimony and urge supporters to defend "all immigrants."

"Directly impacted individuals, allies, and organizations will gather at Federal Plaza to show the 800,000 impacted people that they are not alone," states the event page, which is supported by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Indivisible Chicago, and other activist organizations.

As expected, the Trump plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals allows for a six-month window during which DACA recipients can seek permit renewals and—should the support prove evident—allow Congress to pass new legislation that would protect the hundreds of thousands who rely on the program. But no new DACA applications will accepted during that half-year timeframe, and it remains unclear if the political support will materialize to pass a protection program similar to DACA.

DACA, an executive action signed into effect by Obama, allowed those who came to the country as undocumented minors to request renewable two-year periods against deportation.

Chicago and Illinois legislators and political leaders have spoken out against Trump's controversial decision. "Chicago will always be a welcoming city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who added in a statement that the city would "pursue every legal option" to protect DREAMers.

Democratic governor candidate called on Gov. Brucer Rauner to "stand up for Dreamers" and "speak out against Donald Trump" on the issue.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth called the anti-DACA decision "a gut-wrenching betrayal of American values." She said in a statement on Tuesday:

“Make no mistake—this decision is not about ‘rule of law,’ as Attorney General Sessions claims... DREAMers and DACA recipients are doctors, teachers, students and Servicemembers. They have mortgages and jobs. They know only one nation: the United States, which is where they were raised. To end a program that allowed these patriots to come out of the shadows and more fully contribute to this country is irresponsible and heartless. Congress must act immediately and pass legislation to make DACA the law of the land.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez said he would not support any federal funding bill that fails to include "a safe harbor for DREAMers." He said in a statement:

“America is a better country than its President and most Americans do not want to see documented immigrants converted into undocumented immigrants. It just takes the country in the wrong direction and will be devastating to individual immigrants and families. The disruption, chaos and fear that this action precipitates will also strain state and local governments, educators, and employers. DACA is a program that has been a smashing success, yet the President, purely out of spite and incompetence is smashing DACA."

Sen. Dick Durbin said on Sunday that the rescission could portend "humanitarian and economic disaster."

DACA impacts more than 40,000 Illinois residents, according to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and a recent study found that termination of DACA could lead to a $460 billion loss in the national gross domestic product over the next 10 years, according to Huffington Post. A recent report by the Center for American Progress found that 91 percent of DACA-recipient respondents were employed.