Chicago Mayor declares city a "Trump-free zone" for Dreamers
US President Donald Trump has an imposing influence on contemporary America. But one city has vowed to free itself from one of Trump's most controversial decisions. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has declared the city a "Trump-free zone" in response to the president's decision to terminate Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Emmanuel has promised a safe haven to undocumented immigrant youth, known as "Dreamers."
On September 5, President Trump terminated the 'Dreamers' program which aimed to protect 8 lakh young immigrants brought illegally to the US as children, from being deported. Earlier, on behalf of the Congress, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan had urged Trump to reconsider terminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era policy. It provides work and study permits to thousands of so-called "Dreamers."
The DACA program intends to protect youth under 30, termed "Dreamers" from deportation. Under the program, the selected applicants are provided study or work permits after the FBI thoroughly verifies their personal information. In return, the US government defers action based on their immigration status for two years. At least 800,000 Dreamers, mostly from Latin America and Mexico are currently under DACA protection.
"To all the Dreamers... you are welcome in the city of Chicago. This is your home and you have nothing to worry about," Emanuel said. He said Chicago's schools and neighborhoods will be a "Trump-free zone" when it comes to the president's decision on DACA. "I want you to come to school… and pursue your dreams," he added.
The Chicago school system is a "sanctuary" for undocumented students, declared Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool. He said federal agents won't be allowed on the grounds of schools for any enforcement related to DACA. "You are safe and secure here to learn, to grow and to pursue your dreams and we hope that you do so," he told the Dreamers.
Emmanuel, a Democrat, previously served as White House Chief of Staff under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. Obama earlier personally appealed to Trump to keep the DACA program, saying: "we shouldn't threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat." "These Dreamers are Americans… in every single way but one: on paper."