'We're here to stay': U of I DACA students pressure lawmakers to pass student access bill
Welcoming students with open arms -- it is what the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients at the University of Illinois want to see continue for everyone including those who are undocumented. This comes after President Trump ends the program, but the hundreds of students that gathered to rally at the Alma Mater Wednesday said they are here to stay.
"DACA has given the opportunity for a lot of people to actually obtain an education so they can get employed,” U of I freshman, Kevin Garcia said.
Without DACA, recipients can't continue their education. The Illinois Coalition Assisting Undocumented Students' Education organized the rally in hopes of getting a resolution passed in Springfield.
“To add pressure to pass the Access Bill which is SB 2196 which would allow undocumented students to apply for grants, scholarships and financial aid,” U of I DACA student Nancy Ramirez-Blancas said.
Faculty and community members did not shy away from expressing how they want university officials to help stand behind DACA recipients.
“DACA is not only a way for undocumented students to work in this country, to study in this country, but to contribute to this country,” U of I sophomore and president of the Illini Democrats, Anusha Thotakura said. “It's really important that students reach out to their elected officials especially Governor Bruce Rauner and Congressman Rodney Davis and to put pressure on them to support making Illinois a better place for undocumented students and provide them with more opportunities.”
While some DACA students remain uncertain about their future, they are hopeful.
“I mean we're humans,” Blancas said. “We were raised here there's really no other way around it this is all we know we just want the same equal opportunities that every other student has.”
The university offers resources for undocumented students on campus. To learn more click here.