Rally on campus pushes Davis’ signature of the Dream Act

By Rebecca Wood, Staff writer

The Hana Center, C-U Immigration Forum, local citizens and students from the University stood on the corners of Wright and Chalmers streets this afternoon, urging passers-by to sign a petition and call Congressman Rodney Davis to push him toward supporting the DREAM Act of 2017.

The papers handed out at the rally read: “Call Congressman Rodney Davis and say, ‘My name is ____ and I live in District 13. I am calling to urge Congressman Davis to support the DREAM ACT of 2017’”.

Alan Majors, resident of Champaign, assisted in leading the rally by organizing and passing out the calling sheets.  

“We are here to advocate and bring attention to immigration reform and, specifically, to continuation of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” Majors said. 

Majors and others at the rally said they met with Congressman Davis to show their concern with whether or not he will support the DREAM Act.

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Davis told the group he is supportive of undocumented young people having a positive legislative solution.

Taneka Jennings, deputy director of the Hana Center, is not undocumented but works toward bettering lives for immigrants like herself.

“I am an immigrant in this country. I actually came as a baby and was adopted into a white family,” Jennings said. “Hana Center works with many similar folks.”

Jennings said Hana Center did a two-day, 22-hour vigil in front of the White House last month in an effort to save DACA.

One in seven Korean people are undocumented, according to Jennings. Overall, there are 780,000 DACA recipients. Of these, 97 percent are employed or in school, and will contribute an estimated $100 billion to the national GDP over the next five years.

If the U.S. removed DACA, 720,000 jobs would be impacted, causing $460 billion to be removed from the national GDP over the next 10 years, she added. 

Jailene Ochoa, a young woman at the rally, relates on a personal level to the support of the DREAM Act and finds it relevant for all students at the University. 

“A lot of dreamers are getting their educations now. A lot of them are scared. A lot of them don’t know if they’ll be able to finish their degrees and a lot of them are in the world working right now starting their own businesses,” Ochoa said. “So, I think the impact both on the University and the economy as a whole is going to be huge.”

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Editor’s note: A past version stated that Taneka Jennings is undocumented. She is not.