CHICAGO - Last Friday, the Illinois Coalition of Immigrants and Refugee Rights condemned those members of Illinois congressional delegation that voted to require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce immigration law equally on all non-citizens, including undocumented youth.
A group from ICIRR held a press conference denouncing a vote made in the US House that would deny the U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding to administer the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. Announced nearly one year ago, DACA exercises prosecutorial discretion, permitting those that entered the United States as undocumented immigrants during their childhood to remain lawfully in the U.S. for two years and obtain work authorization during that period. The end of DACA would put hundreds of thousands of DREAM students at risk of immediate deportation.
ICIRR criticized Republican Congress members from Illinois for supporting Congressman Steve King's (R-Iowa) effort, and said Republican efforts to enforce immigration laws will hurt their chances to win elections in the future.
"The GOP party brand already on the brink of oblivion among Latino and immigrant voters, continue to be the anti-children, anti-citizenship and anti-immigrant party that alienate these communities who voted in record numbers this past November," an ICIRR press release says.
"In Illinois, the Republican party lost four congressional seats, including three freshmen and 14-year incumbent U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale. They narrowly avoided losing the seat currently held by Congressman Rodney Davis, who won by only 1,002 votes (0.34%) in a district with 10,221 registered Latino, Asian and Middle Eastern voters," ICIRR threatened.
"As immigrants continue to move into the suburbs, including DuPage, Lake and McHenry Counties, a lack of leadership on immigration by Republicans will hurt them in future Novembers."
The vote referred to defunded a program Congressman Steve King referred to in House floor debate as "DREAM Act Lite" - which was an executive order issued by President Obama, bypassing Congress, and setting into motion policy allowing undocumented youth unfettered access to state universities if they were born in the U.S. King's opposition was to Obama's overstepping the Executive Branch's legal authority and setting into motion public policy in contradiction to federal law.
All GOP members of the Illinois delegation - Roskam, Rodney Davis, Kinzinger, Hultgren, Schock and Shimkus voted Yes on King's amendment. All Democrat members of Illinois' caucus - Rush, Kelly, Lipinski, Gutierrez, Quigley, Danny Davis, Duckworth, Schakowsky, Enyart and Foster - voted no.