The crowd filled Federal Plaza in the Loop yesterday to protest Trump’s veto of DACA, the Obama executive order allowing the children of undocumented immigrants the right to remain in the country.
I took no poll, but it was clear to me that most of those gathered in the plaza with less than 24 hours notice wanted more than a continuation of DACA. It was a protest calling for full immigrant rights.
Undocumented immigrants have a right to live without the constant fear of deportation.
Our Chicago Mayor announced yesterday that Chicago was not just a sanctuary city, but a “Trump-free zone.”
Many of us are concerned that isolating DACA from the current general assault on immigrants and immigrant right creates multiple levels of fairness, justice and divisions.
Congress, and Democrats in particular, must act to expand rights to all undocumented immigrants.
I can’t forget that it was our Mayor who, when he was a White House advisor to Bill Clinton, drafted the memo calling for Clinton to copy Richard Nixon’s campaign of law and order and step up immigration raids.
Nobody I talked with at the demo yesterday thought it made sense to have an immigration policy that allowed for the deportation of immigrant parents anymore than it made sense to deport 800,000 of their children.
As to whether Chicago is more broadly a Trump-free zone, I am left to wonder, given the Mayor’s secret meeting with Trump’s Secretary of Education, a meeting which led to the voucher bill passed last week by the Illinois legislature.
It is hard to find many defenders of Trump’s DACA action in the media. Even on Wall Street or among Republicans. I remain skeptical of many Democratic leaders and how fully committed they are to immigrant rights.
I caught some hell yesterday for posting this picture and a critical post on Facebook of former Governor Pat Quinn who was at the DACA and More rally.
It is no secret that our last Democratic governor lost to Bruce Rauner as a result of an anti-labor record – including pension theft – that made him unpalatable to many union members and retired public employees in the state.
But it was more than a bit metaphorical to have the defeated Democrat attend an immigrant rally organized to defend 800,000 young people for his own purpose of collecting signatures on his latest pet petition project: term limits.
I can tell you that those around me were not pleased.
Yet he was not so different than the Mayor, facing re-election and needing Hispanic votes, to declare Chicago a Trump-free zone.
It’s not Trump-free yet.
For that to truly happen it needs to be Rahm-free too.