Rep. Gutierrez celebrates DACA with youths
|U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Center, gives a speech while Jose Quintero, left, of Chicago, and Yesenia Guerrero, right, of Cicero, listen during a Thanksgiving event at Linclon United Methodist Church, 2242 S. Damen Ave., Chicago on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Guerrero and Quintero are two of 21 youths who recently received deferred action, allowing them workers permits and a drivers license. Staff photo by Matt Piechelak|
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) gathered at Chicago's Lincoln United Methodist Church to celebrate youths who have received workers' permits and drivers licenses through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
A total of 21 students, including three from Cicero, were honored at the Wednesday night event, which included bilingual speeches and a Thanksgivng dinner.
The DACA program gives people who arrived in the country before they turned 16 but lack documentation the chance to apply for a two-year deferral of any deportation activity. The program also gives people documentation to work and drive legally in the country.
Gutierrez was instrumental in getting the Obama administration to set the policy. The move was made without consent of congress through an executive order.
Gutierrez spoke passionately at the event in favor of the program and further immigration reforms.
"For the first time in their lives, they don't have to look over their shoulder and wonder if this is the day they're going to disappear off the streets of this country," said Gutierrez, of the youths at the event. "We're not going to rest until everyone one of your moms and every one of your dads and everyone in your family is free with you."
For 18-year-old Cicero resident Jovany Martinez, the night was a fullfilling emotional event.
"Our parents came here for one reason: the American dream. But they didn't get to do that," said Martinesz. "Now we have documents saying that we belong here and we get to show America what we have to offer."
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