“Illinois has the 3rd largest population of DACA recipients in the United States,” said Mathew Oakes at Rock Valley College’s Atrium.
Oakes is a writing professor at RVC, and one of the co-chairs of the PAIC Committee, which stands for “Promoting an Inclusive Community.”
He says he thought it was important to have a discussion on DACA and identify and challenge common assumptions about dreamers.
“You can think all sorts of things about people you’ve never met,” said Oakes. “But once you actually sit, and look at someone’s face and hear their story, and hear their struggle, and hear their successes and hear their dreams, and their hopes-the issue clarifies. It’s really not that complicated.”
Oakes saying he thinks it’s beneficial to have open discussions to clear up misconceptions.
“I think it’s useful to identify what common assumptions are, and then to challenge or correct, or confirm them,” said Oakes. “Sometimes they’re correct, sometimes they’re not. And you know, we’re a college. We want people to have the right information.”
Jane Hayes is Irish-American.
Her family migrated to the U.S. back in the mid 1800’s due to a famine in Ireland.
Hayes said her family, like many other immigrants today, just want to make a living.
“They want to give back to the country that has welcomed them,” said Hayes. “Unfortunately, we don’t always welcome them. And that’s why I found this very enlightening today because we need to address the problem. And it has to be legally, and socially.”
Rockford immigration attorney Sara Dady says no matter what Dreamers deal Congress agrees to, it’ll affect every American.
“32,000 DACAS work and contribute to our state’s economy, to the tune of 2.2 billion in gross domestic product in the state of Illinois,” said Dady. “So, it’s just not playing with DACA’s lives-it’s all of ours.”