WBEZ | citizenship http://www.wbez.org/tags/citizenship Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en After Obama immigration offer, college roommates weigh risks http://www.wbez.org/news/after-obama-immigration-offer-college-roommates-weigh-risks-103257 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75048041" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/DSC_0295cropped.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 228px; width: 350px; " title="Northern Illinois University sophomores “Marissa Castillo,” left, and Elaine Rodríguez share an apartment in DeKalb, Illinois. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />President Barack Obama has an offer for many undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. Since Aug. 15, the Department of Homeland Security has been letting them apply for work papers and a deportation reprieve under a policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. But the department says it had received fewer than 180,000 complete applications as of Oct. 10. That represents a small fraction of the 950,000 immigrants that, according to a Pew Hispanic Center estimate, could qualify immediately for the deferred action.</p><p>That got me wondering: What would keep people from applying? I&rsquo;m hearing about immigrants having trouble gathering documents to prove their eligibility. I&rsquo;m hearing about struggles to find affordable legal advice and scrape up the $465 application fee. But there&rsquo;s another factor: fear. Many immigrants are wondering how long the policy will remain in place and whether the application information will be used for immigration enforcement. Some are also wondering whether they can count on the Obama administration, which has deported people in record numbers.</p><p>I found a pair of young roommates bound up in these questions. Both women have immigrant parents. Both grew up in Chicago. And both are college sophomores. But just one has papers to be in the United States. That woman, a U.S. citizen, wants to convince her undocumented roommate to take up Obama&rsquo;s offer and send in the application. Their story revolves around trust, immigration status and who will have a future in the United States.</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-obama-immigration-offer-college-roommates-weigh-risks-103257 Driver licenses for undocumented youths? http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immigrant%20map.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 369px; width: 600px; " title="WBEZ asked eight states whether they are planning to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants who receive Social Security and employment-authorization cards as a result of President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy. (WBEZ map by Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver&rsquo;s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.</p><p>The Obama administration policy, called &ldquo;Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,&rdquo; will allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to get Social Security and employment-authorization cards, along with a deportation reprieve. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications Aug. 15.</p><p>&ldquo;As long as the Social Security Administration issues an individual with a Social Security number, and they have the other documents that are required under Illinois law, then they can apply for a driver&rsquo;s license,&rdquo; said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who oversees that state&rsquo;s driver licensing.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed eight Midwestern states about their response to the policy change. Along with the four states planning to provide licenses, Wisconsin and Iowa officials said they had not decided yet, while Minnesota and Missouri officials did not respond to numerous WBEZ inquiries.</p><p>The states planning to issue the driver&rsquo;s licenses differ from Arizona, Nebraska and Texas, where governors have vowed to block illegal immigrants from getting licenses.</p><p>The immigrants must meet several requirements to get the Social Security and work-authorization cards, including having been younger than 31 on June 15; having arrived in the U.S. before turning 16; having lived in the country continuously since June 2007; being a student or graduate, or having served in the military; and having no serious criminal record nor posing any public safety threat. The work authorization will last up to two years and, if the federal policy stays in place, be renewable. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship.</p><p>Assuming some of the immigrants have been driving illegally, states that enable them to get a license could make roads safer. &ldquo;They have to pass the road exam, they have to pass the written exam, and they pass the vision test,&rdquo; Haupt said about Illinois. &ldquo;We require so many different things of our young drivers and &mdash; by doing so &mdash; they, of course, become better drivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois also requires proof of liability insurance on the car the driver uses for the road test. So it&rsquo;s possible that allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally could reduce the number of uninsured vehicles.</p><p>The immigrants themselves have more at stake. Karen Siciliano Lucas, an advocacy attorney of the Washington-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., points out that driver&rsquo;s licenses are vital for working and attending school in most regions of the country. &ldquo;Not only that, it is a state-issued identification that shows who you are,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The issue is complicated because most states require driver&rsquo;s&nbsp;license applicants to prove &ldquo;lawful status&rdquo; or &ldquo;legal presence&rdquo; in the United States. Officials in some states say the work authorization under the Obama policy will be sufficient proof. But a USCIS statement says the policy &ldquo;does not confer lawful status upon an individual.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s unclear whether courts will enable states to define lawful status differently than the federal government does.</p><p>States expecting Obama administration guidance about the driver&rsquo;s licenses could be waiting awhile. In response to WBEZ questions, the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying the department does not comment on state-specific matters.</p><p>Until federal courts weigh in, states are likely to face lawsuits no matter their course. &ldquo;We will see battles on this,&rdquo; Lucas predicted.</p><p>Making matters more complicated is the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 law aimed at fighting identity theft and keeping terrorists out of federal buildings and airplanes. Among other things, the act requires states to verify that driver&rsquo;s license applicants have lawful status in the United States.</p><p>The law is set to take effect in January, but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Obama administration will enforce it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has fought for the measure&rsquo;s repeal, calling it unworkable.</p><p>That irks advocates for tougher immigration enforcement: &ldquo;If you want to protect against identify theft, you&rsquo;ve got to eliminate the fraud,&rdquo; said Janice Kephart, who focuses on national security policies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. &ldquo;That means you have to eliminate the illegal-alien community out of that scheme. It doesn&rsquo;t mean that states cannot give driver&rsquo;s licenses to illegal aliens. It just means that they have to do it outside the Real ID Act.&rdquo;</p><p>Kephart praised Utah, which has created a &ldquo;driving privilege card&rdquo; specifically for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>At the moment the only other states that let undocumented immigrants drive legally are New Mexico and Washington, which provide them the same licenses that U.S. citizens can get.</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 Globalization warms attitudes toward dual citizenship http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/globalization-warms-attitudes-toward-dual-citizenship-100057 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/passports%20flickr.jpg" title="(flickr/Dariusz)" /></div><p>When former GOP presidential candidate Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76142.html" target="_blank">outed</a> herself as a dual U.S.-Swiss citizen last month, it sparked a conversation about citizenship in a globalized world. Bachmann, a Tea Party darling, took considerable heat for sharing her allegiance with her husband&rsquo;s ancestral homeland. Less than two days after her Swissness became public, Bachmann wrote the Swiss government, asking to withdraw her citizenship. She explained in a <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-michele-bachmann-swiss-20120511,0,2415630.story" target="_blank">statement</a> that she did so to make perfectly clear that she was born in America and is a proud American citizen.</p><p>&ldquo;I am and always have been 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America,&rdquo; Bachmann said.</p><p>Longtime citizenship scholar and international law professor <a href="http://www.law.temple.edu/Pages/Faculty/N_Faculty_Spiro_Main.aspx" target="_blank">Peter Spiro</a> saw the Bachmann debacle as an opportunity to have a broader conversation about citizenship. He suggested a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/05/14/can-dual-citizens-be-good-americans" target="_blank">forum</a>, hosted by the <em>New York Times</em>, centered around the question: Can dual citizens be good Americans?</p><p>Spiro joins <em>Worldview</em> Wednesday to talk about what he calls a &ldquo;dramatic shift in attitudes&rdquo; on the issue of dual citizenship over the last 20 years.</p><p>Tell us what you think: Can dual citizens be good Americans? Call<em> Worldview</em> Wednesday at <strong>(312) 923-9239.</strong></p></p> Wed, 13 Jun 2012 10:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/globalization-warms-attitudes-toward-dual-citizenship-100057 Quinn signs bill that will help undocumented college students http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-signs-bill-will-help-undocumented-college-students-89856 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-29/Quinn.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A college education could soon be more affordable for thousands of undocumented immigrants in Illinois.<br> <br> Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday signed into law a bill that will set up privately funded college scholarships for children of immigrants, legal or not. The program’s backers say it will be the nation’s first state-created scholarship fund benefiting undocumented immigrants.<br> <br> “[It’s] certainly something that will get noticed around the country and in the Congress,” says Margie McHugh of the Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute.<br> <br> The Illinois measure could build support for a federal bill called the DREAM Act, McHugh adds. That bill, introduced in May by U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, would lay a path to citizenship for many undocumented students and military members who arrived in the country before age 16. Durbin has been pushing versions of this measure since 2001.<br> <br> Opponents say helping out the young people rewards their parents for violating immigration laws.<br> <br> Quinn signed the scholarships bill at Benito Juárez Community Academy, a mostly Mexican high school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended the ceremony after announcing support for the measure in May. Lobbying led by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights helped push the bill through the Illinois Senate and House that month.<br> <br> Under the measure, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission will create a nonprofit organization to manage the scholarship funds. High-school guidance counselors will receive training about the program. The immigrant families will also be able to join state-run college savings programs.<br> <br> Illinois and several other states already provide undocumented students in-state tuition.</p></p> Mon, 01 Aug 2011 10:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-signs-bill-will-help-undocumented-college-students-89856 House panel OKs scholarships for undocumented immigrants http://www.wbez.org/story/house-panel-oks-scholarships-undocumented-immigrants-86992 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/Dreamers3.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois bill that could help tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants attend college is a step closer to becoming law.<br> <br> A state House of Representatives committee voted Tuesday afternoon for the Illinois Dream Act, which would set up scholarships for the students. The vote could lead to a House floor debate as early as Wednesday. Governor Pat Quinn says he would sign the measure into law.<br> <br> The bill would create a commission to raise money for the scholarships — all privately funded — and award them to students who arrived in the country before age 16. The legislation would also allow children of immigrants to join state-run college savings programs and would require high-school counselors to make students aware of the scholarships and the savings programs.<br> <br> The state Senate passed the bill 45-11 on May 4. Eleven of the votes for the legislation came from Republicans.<br> <br> House Speaker Michael Madigan, who supports the measure, then referred it to his chamber’s Executive Committee, which passed it Tuesday along party lines, 7-4.<br> <br> The Executive Committee members who voted against the bill included Assistant House Republican Leader Dan Brady of Bloomington. Brady told WBEZ afterwards he was concerned that the Illinois Student Assistance Commission would play a role. That agency runs a troubled pre-paid tuition program. “There’s legislation calling for an internal audit” of the commission, Brady said. “And so before we create something else, I’d like to see what happened — what the audit shows.”<br> <br> Brady said he had a second problem with the bill: “Certainly we want to try to assist [undocumented students] in their education but, on the other hand, I don’t think it should be at the expense of other students — citizens — who may lose the ability to have a seat at one of our universities across the state.”<br> <br> The bill’s supporters don’t deny that it would increase competition among potential college students. “But Illinois has already invested a lot to get the undocumented students through high school,” said Lawrence Benito, deputy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “The state also benefits when potential college students are judged on academic merit, not whether they can pay.”<br> <br> Republicans are getting an earful from Tea Party activists upset about the Senate vote and convinced the bill would lure illegal immigrants to Illinois.<br> <br> But immigrant advocates are warning the lawmakers to keep other constituents in mind. “Look at the demographic changes in some of these suburban swing districts,” Benito said. “There are 640,000 U.S. citizen children of immigrants [in Illinois]. Of these children, 70,000 will turn 18 by 2012. They’re going to remember. This is an important issue to the Latino immigrant community.”<br> <br> The Illinois measure has no relation to a federal bill, also called the Dream Act, which would lay a path to citizenship for undocumented students. That measure has stalled repeatedly over the last decade. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, reintroduced it this month.</p></p> Tue, 24 May 2011 22:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/house-panel-oks-scholarships-undocumented-immigrants-86992 Emanuel backs scholarships for undocumented immigrants http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-backs-scholarships-undocumented-immigrants-86532 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-13/Emanuel3.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago’s most powerful politicians are lining up behind Illinois and federal bills that would give some undocumented immigrants a boost.<br> <br> Both measures are known as the DREAM Act. The Illinois version, approved by the state Senate last week, would set up privately funded scholarships for undocumented college students who grew up in this country.<br> <br> The federal version would lay a path to citizenship for the students. That measure has stalled repeatedly over the last decade, but U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, reintroduced it Wednesday.<br> <br> Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle voiced support for the bills Friday afternoon at downtown Chicago offices of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.<br> <br> So did Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who said the Illinois version would serve the state’s interests. Emanuel said those included “giving children of undocumented immigrants a chance at an education and, most important, with that education a chance at the American dream.”<br> <br> In the past, Emanuel has disappointed immigrant-rights leaders. His support for the Illinois DREAM Act could warm his relations with them.<br> <br> The state Senate vote was 45-11. In the House, Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is backing the bill. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign it into law.<br> <br> Some of the bill’s Republican supporters, meanwhile, are hearing from constituents who confuse it with the federal version or say the scholarships would lure more illegal immigrants to Illinois.<br> <br> Prospects for the federal bill appear bleak. In December, when Democrats controlled the U.S. House, the measure narrowly passed that chamber. Now Republicans have taken over the House and increased their numbers in the Senate.</p></p> Fri, 13 May 2011 22:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-backs-scholarships-undocumented-immigrants-86532 DREAM Act backers at odds over how to pass it http://www.wbez.org/story/adalberto-united-methodist-church/dream-act-backers-odds-over-how-pass-it <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Dreamers3.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., wants the DREAM Act signed into law by year&rsquo;s end. But supporters disagree on how to advance the measure.<br /><br />The bill, passed by the U.S. House last week, would lay a path to citizenship for some undocumented youths who grew up in this country and attend college or join the military.<br /><br />Getting it through the Senate would depend on Republicans so the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is urging calls and letters to the state&rsquo;s Republican senator, Mark Kirk.<br /><br />But some DREAM Act supporters call that effort a waste of time. &ldquo;Kirk is not going to do anything independently of the Republican Party,&rdquo; said immigrant-rights activist Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist, a church in Chicago&rsquo;s Humboldt Park neighborhood.<br /><br />&ldquo;This is something that has to be worked out by leadership,&rdquo; Coleman said. &ldquo;Our pressure needs to go on Obama and it needs to go on the Democratic leadership, who&rsquo;ve been playing us for two years, to finally come through and meet their promises.&rdquo;<br /><br />Coleman said that would mean making the DREAM Act part of any deal with Republicans about taxes.</p></p> Mon, 13 Dec 2010 11:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/adalberto-united-methodist-church/dream-act-backers-odds-over-how-pass-it Undocumented youths try to derail Senate hopeful Mark Kirk http://www.wbez.org/story/19th-ward/undocumented-youths-try-derail-senate-hopeful-mark-kirk <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-29/Rogelio_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A requirement to vote in the United States is citizenship. But voting isn&rsquo;t the only way to affect a race&rsquo;s outcome. Some undocumented young people in the Chicago area are going all out against the Republican in Illinois&rsquo;s U.S. Senate election Tuesday.<br /><br />Their motivation is a federal bill called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The DREAM Act, as it&rsquo;s known, would provide legal status to many college students and service members who&rsquo;ve grown up in the United States.<br /><br />The undocumented youths are upset that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) isn&rsquo;t supporting the legislation. They&rsquo;re trying to derail his U.S. Senate campaign and get in his face.<br /><br />Ambi: DREAM Act? Yeah, yeah, yeah! Mark Kirk? No, no, no!<br /><br />About a dozen undocumented students have donned graduation gowns and caps outside a Republican office on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side. Three others are staging a sit-in inside. They include this 23-year-old.<br /><br />UNZUETA: My name is Irere Unzueta.<br /><br />Unzueta says her parents brought her to Chicago from Mexico at age 6. She&rsquo;s graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Now she wants a master&rsquo;s in engineering. But she&rsquo;s not a legal resident so doesn&rsquo;t qualify for most financial aid.<br /><br />Unzueta says she and the others aren&rsquo;t leaving the Republican office until Kirk agrees to meet with them.<br /><br />UNZUETA: Him saying that he is going to want to push for a lot more border security -- border enforcement -- before anything positive is really passed, I just think, is a really bad idea.<br /><br />Unzueta says her group isn&rsquo;t endorsing the race&rsquo;s Democrat, Alexi Giannoulias. She says they just want Kirk defeated.<br /><br />After four hours inside the office, police show up and the students leave. But about 10 miles away, some other undocumented youths keep at it.<br /><br />Ambi: Walking through fallen leaves.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;m going door to door through a Latino neighborhood of west-suburban Melrose Park. A 22-year-old named Rogelio is leading a crew of volunteer canvassers that&rsquo;s reminding folks to vote on Tuesday.<br />Ambi: Knocking.<br />ROGELIO: Here we come. (Door opens.) Hola buenas noches. Cómo estás? Se encuentra el señor... <br />MITCHELL: He asked us not to broadcast his last name because he&rsquo;s undocumented. Rogelio says he&rsquo;s lived in the area since his parents brought him from Mexico City at age 6. After graduating from a high school in Northlake, he says he fell into a depression as he realized how hard it would be to go to college or find a decent job without papers.<br />ROGELIO: This is crazy because I&rsquo;m undocumented and I&rsquo;m doing this. And people are thanking me. Even though I can&rsquo;t vote, the people are thanking us for doing this.<br />MITCHELL: Rogelio&rsquo;s not telling anyone how to vote. But he is handing out some yellow fliers comparing the immigration stands of the U.S. Senate candidates. That flier suggests a big difference between Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias on the DREAM Act.<br />ROGELIO: I really enjoy doing this. It gets me out of my depression. It gets me out from where I was at two years ago, just there home doing nothing, like a loser. And I&rsquo;m not a loser. We&rsquo;re not losers, we&rsquo;re winners. And I feel like a winner right now, doing this, just getting out there and just informing the community.<br /><br />We left messages this morning to see what the Kirk campaign and the Illinois Republican Party think about undocumented youths working against the Senate candidate. They didn&rsquo;t get back to us.<br /><br />But a local Tea Party activist says the young people are hurting their own cause.<br /><br />WOJTOWICZ: They&rsquo;re helping Mark Kirk with this.<br /><br />Catherina Wojtowicz lives on Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest Side.<br /><br />WOJTOWICZ: They&rsquo;re strategy is completely skewed. Mark Kirk&rsquo;s weak base is with the conservative movement. If they want to come to the Southwest Side, I&rsquo;ll give them a donation.<br />MITCHELL: Why?<br />WOJTOWICZ: It&rsquo;ll help me. And Worth Township and the 19th Ward are Democratic bastions.<br /><br />The undocumented youths may not have a good shot at winning over Wojtowicz&rsquo;s part of town. But they still think can defeat Kirk.</p></p> Fri, 29 Oct 2010 22:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/19th-ward/undocumented-youths-try-derail-senate-hopeful-mark-kirk