CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — One group is begging lawmakers to protect hundreds of thousands of immigrants. More than 200 marched downtown Saturday morning.
They want Congress to pass legislation keeping DACA recipients in the U.S. The so-called dreamers are undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as young children.
Organizers say they were pleased with the turnout. They say they didn’t really expect hundreds to show up because of the cold and windy weather, but those marching say they weren’t going to let some bad weather drown out their voices.
“We’re building on this.”
Marching, building momentum and trying to get the attention of lawmakers. President Trump says they want to get a deal done.
“DACA is something that should absolutely be easy to do and I don’t think the Democrats want to take care of the DACA recipients.”
People in Central Illinois are frustrated those dreamers are still in limbo.
“This is really a calamity for our community, for our county, and for these young people.”
Ben Mueller is involved in several local immigration organizations. They came out in full force.
“On a cold windy day like today, I’m very pleased to see this many people come out.”
Like Maggie Kinnamon. She’s a teacher who marched because she deals with immigrants every day.
“At my school, all of the teachers have signs outside of the doors saying that we will protect our dreamers.”
She says some of their students wonder if their families are safe in the U.S.
“They know that school is a safe space, but when they go home they don’t have that same security.”
Kinnamon and Mueller believe DACA recipients shouldn’t have to worry about being deported.
“They’re devastated. They don’t understand how a government can treat them as criminals. It’s tearing their hearts apart because they know no other country.”
And he says it’s time that changes.
“Protect the dreamers, and let them go on with their life in the United States”
“Because you know it’s a big question as to whether it’s going to happen and we have a March 5 date so we’ll see. And we are dealing with both sides, which is incredible.”
Their goal is to convince Congressman Rodney Davis (R) to support a Clean Dream Act. Congress votes Thursday.