On Tuesday, August 15th SWOP leaders attended a press conference downtown in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. The purpose of the press conference was twofold: celebrate five successful years of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and to send a message to the current administration to keep the program in place.
SWOP was one of many participants in the press conference pulled together by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). Joining SWOP and ICIRR were leaders from The Resurrection Project, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Communities United, SEIU Local 1, Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Mujeres Latinas En Accion, Syrian Community Network, Enlace Chicago, Access Living, Centro Romero, NAFI, West Suburban Action Project-PASO, Centro Sin Fronteras, Jewish Congress on Urban Affairs, and Arab American Action Network.
SWOP leader Rafi Peterson kicked off the press conference with a declaration of solidarity with immigrants. He called for continued support for DACA and an end to unfair deportations. Rafi was followed by a host of speakers, who talked about their positive experiences of participating in DACA. There were young people going to college to get law and social work degrees. Young people able to support their families because they can legally work. Parents who are proud of their children’s ability to succeed in this country. The press conference ended with chants of “Sí Se Puede” and “No More Fear” as the group vowed to continue fighting for DACA and an end to deportations.