A Better Chicago was founded on the belief that everyone deserves a great education. Our portfolio is comprised of organizations that work with the most vulnerable student populations in our region, and the recent announcement ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may deeply impact the work they do and the students they serve.
In total, this could affect about 800,000 DACA-eligible young people around the country who have essentially grown up here, and earned or are currently earning a high school degree. Many are enrolled in or have already graduated from college, and started on their careers.
Now, more than ever, we need to support our students throughout Illinois, which has the third largest population of DACA recipients.1 Congress is currently charged with finding an alternate solution to the program, and we strongly encourage them to see these young people as we do: full of potential and working hard to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.
Organizations Speak Out
This news has not only strengthened our commitment to our mission, but also that of our entire portfolio of organizations that work with many DACA recipients. Below are statement excerpts from only a few of our grantees that illustrate the depth of their commitment.
A Better Chicago is proud to stand by our grantees and their students during this challenging time.
"The Administration’s decision sends an alarming message to all of our students and their families--that they don't belong in college and don’t deserve the life that comes with earning a degree. We know that’s not true…We are committed to doing whatever it takes to help them cross the finish line with their degree." – Chris Broughton, Executive Director, Bottom Line. Full statement here >
“They share the promise of what the American dream means and they are the face of what leadership will be in the future. Our hope is that Congress and the President will enact new legislation to support the hopes, dreams, and future of these young people that include our Scholars. While we cannot predict what will happen legislatively, we hope that you will stand with us to continue supporting the talented youth of Chicago.” – Dominique Jordan Turner, President and CEO, Chicago Scholars, via email.
“We believe in better futures for all, and we stand with our students without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other such factor. At College Possible, we know that giving all U.S. students the opportunity to succeed is the best way to create the future our country’s long-term health depends on.” – Jim McCorkell, CEO and Founder, College Possible, via its website.
"While DACA’s future is now in peril, KIPP’s commitment – to all of our students and families – is stronger than ever…We should and must do everything possible to make sure the hard-working young people covered under DACA have a path to citizenship because they contribute to our economy and make our communities better places to live.” – Richard Barth, KIPP CEO, via its website.
“The national implications of the President’s action are not yet entire clear, nor do we know if Congress will finally pass legislation that provides a path to permanent residency or citizenship for DACA recipients. Regardless, please know that Noble continues to stand with immigrants of all types.” – Michael Milkie, Superintendent, Noble Network of Charter Schools. Full statement here >
“The young people that make up the DACA program are not only vulnerable, they are law-abiding, courageous young men, women, and children who are pursuing their dreams in the face of remarkable adversity.” – Jeff Nelson, Co-Founder & CEO, OneGoal, via LinkedIn.
“One Million Degrees Scholars and Alumni are bringing their considerable talent and drive to their colleges, employers, communities, and families every day. They are pursuing their American Dreams with everything they've got…We call for Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation to provide permanent protections so that these strivers can get back to the business of pursuing their American Dreams.” – Paige Ponder, Chief Executive Officer, One Million Degrees, via LinkedIn.
1 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Number of I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics and Case Status: 2012-2016 (June 30). https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/All%20Form%20Types/DACA/daca_performancedata_fy2016_qtr3.pdf.