WBEZ | undocumented youths http://www.wbez.org/tags/undocumented-youths Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Durbin to undocumented youths: Watch out for unscrupulous lawyers http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-undocumented-youths-watch-out-unscrupulous-lawyers-101546 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Durbin4cropscaled.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 401px; width: 250px; " title="‘Don’t let them exploit you,’ the senator tells immigrants in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Two U.S. congressmen from Illinois are warning undocumented youths not to pay steep fees to get help applying for a deportation reprieve under a new immigration policy.</p><p>Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, both Democrats, say most eligible youths can take advantage of the policy, known as &ldquo;deferred action,&rdquo; without a lawyer or any payment beyond a $465 fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency accepting the applications.</p><p>&ldquo;There are <em>notarios </em>as well as attorneys out there who are trying to take money away from these young people and their families,&rdquo; Durbin said Tuesday afternoon at a meeting with immigrants in Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood. &ldquo;They say, &lsquo;Oh, give me $1,000, give me $2,000, and I will help you.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t let them exploit you,&rdquo; Durbin said.</p><p>Under the policy, announced by President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration in June, undocumented immigrants can request permission to stay and work in the country by submitting a document starting August 15. The administration, which has not released that document yet, is expecting more than 1 million requests, according to an Associated Press report.</p><p>To qualify, immigrants must be 30 or younger, have arrived in the United States before turning 16, have lived in the country at least five years, and be in school or graduated or served in the military. They also must have no criminal record and pose no safety threat. The permission to live and work in the country lasts two years and is renewable.</p><p>The policy does not provide a path to citizenship &mdash; a key difference from stalled legislation, known as the DREAM Act, that Durbin has pushed for more than a decade.</p><p>Durbin and Gutiérrez urged immigrants who may be eligible for relief under the policy to attend an August 15 workshop at Chicago&rsquo;s Navy Pier, where the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is organizing hundreds of volunteers to provide information and help fill out the applications.</p><p>Gutiérrez added that the policy could lead to an overhaul that stretches far beyond the youths. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s incumbent upon us, now that we&rsquo;ve got this, to move on to their moms and their dads,&rdquo; the representative said. &ldquo;Comprehensive immigration reform is what is necessary and that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re going to work on next.&rdquo;</p><p>Conservative critics call the Obama policy a backdoor amnesty plan aimed at increasing the president&rsquo;s Latino support before November&rsquo;s election.</p></p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-undocumented-youths-watch-out-unscrupulous-lawyers-101546 DREAM Act/Coming Out of the Shadows Day rally today; will Rahm listen? http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-03-10/dream-actcoming-out-shadows-day-rally-today-will-rahm-listen-83477 <p><p>The most startling moments at last year&rsquo;s rallies for the DREAM Act and immigration reform would often be when immigrant youth would step forward, identify themselves and declare themselves undocumented.</p><p><span style="font-family: Arial;">The young people that took that step were a surprising bunch: Latinos, yes, but also Asians and Middle Easterners and others that were harder to pinpoint ethnically. Almost to the person, they spoke perfect English, and they looked beautifully ordinary: hip and nerdy, awkward and impetuous, convinced of the righteousness of their cause. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The confession they made itself was terrifying, I suspect, even for those of us looking on who were secure in our status. The move was bold but also filled with a passionate faith: To stand up and say &ldquo;I am undocumented&rdquo; meant that the fight for the DREAM Act could have only one outcome; no other possibility could be considered.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">And yet, here we are, a year later, the DREAM Act voted down and those kids &hellip; still going strong.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&ldquo;Last year undocumented youth began to think of undocumented as an intrinsic part of our identity, of who we are, and of how we experience our lives,&rdquo; says Tania Unzueta, one of the young folks who came out last year.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>&ldquo;We sat in a room and said to each other that we were undocumented, and told our stories. We realized that this was powerful, and we wanted to share it with the rest of the country, so we declared March 10th National Coming Out day, and called ourselves &lsquo;undocumented and unafraid.&rsquo; Throughout the year we tried to live by that slogan.&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Earlier this year, Unzueta went to Arizona with others in her situation to participate in a civil disobedience action and later got arrested in Washington DC while pushing for the DREAM Act. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&ldquo;This year, once again, we are asking undocumented youth to come out and declare that they are undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic about our pursuit for equal rights,&rdquo; says Unzueta. &ldquo;We are also asking those who are not undocumented to speak out on behalf of immigrant rights when there are no undocumented youth present, and support us when we are there.&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Instead of retreating, instead of pretending they hadn&rsquo;t unmasked themselves, or trying to mask themselves anew, the unveiling has empowered them. Today, these gutsy young people &ndash; many now organized into the <a href="http://www.iyjl.org/?p=1914">Immigrant Youth Justice League</a>&nbsp; (you gotta love the superhero shout out) -- are going to do it all again at 3 p.m.&nbsp; at Daley Plaza in what they're calling a National Coming Out of the Shadows Day rally.<br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Their goal? To connect with one another and their supporters. To tell the truth and give each other strength in that truth. keep the DREAM Act alive. To have a life of dignity.</span><span style="font-family: Arial;"> <br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">*<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>*<span style="">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>*</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">If Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel was sincere in his desire to help undocumented young people who deserve a better lot, he might be wise to attend the rally today &ndash; and listen.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">We know little about Emanuel&rsquo;s views on immigration except his &ldquo;third rail&rdquo; comment. During the mayoral campaign, he proposed a local version of the DREAM Act (as did Miguel del Valle) that made headlines for about a day, then vanished. Essentially a college loan/scholarship program, Emanuel&rsquo;s proposal showed how little he actually understood of the plight of undocumented young people, and even less about what they need.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">I asked Unzueta about Emanuel&rsquo;s proposal. Chicago is already a sanctuary city, thanks to Mayor Harold Washington back in 1983 but re-affirmed by the City Council in 2007. What else can be done locally?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">&ldquo;The reality is that a local dream act doesn't do much for us,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We need a path to legalization, which only a federal law can change. But the things that are within state (and local) jurisdiction are treatment of undocumented immigrants by local police, driving certificates, scholarship money for schools, training sponsored by the city or state for school counselors on how undocumented youth can apply to (college)school, rights, etc.&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Those are just a few ideas. And Rahm has been asking for ideas. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Here&rsquo;s hoping he means it.</span><span style="font-family: Arial;"><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 489px; height: 325px;" title="" alt="Tania Unzueta speaking before the media" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-10/35100_1222964553945_1823918026_436501_1199200_n.jpg" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 10 Mar 2011 06:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-03-10/dream-actcoming-out-shadows-day-rally-today-will-rahm-listen-83477 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