Over 200 people marched in downtown Champaign, Saturday March 3 2018, to demand that Congress pass a clean Dream Act now to protect the more than 700,000 young immigrants, including more than 40,000 in Illinois, covered by DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Marchers included representatives of several faith groups, immigration aid groups, and at least one Democratic primary candidate, David Gill, who is vying for a chance to defeat Republican Congressman Rodney Davis.
“There's still time for Rodney Davis to do the right thing and help Republicans act in a just and humane way,” said Diane, chair of Bend the Arc:CU, the group sponsoring the march. “We need legislation that provides dreamers a path to citizenship, not border walls, and we need it now."
The march started at 11:30 a.m. and followed a route that took marchers north on Neil St. from the WCIA building near Green St. to the News-Gazette building on W. Main St.
The march was the second of three actions focusing on the plight of DACA recipients, who stand to lose their legal status in just 30 days. The first action began on February 1 and continues to February 8. During this time period, Bend the Arc:CU, CU Immigration Forum, and CU FAIR have arranged for at least five faith groups to visit Davis' Champaign office to personally deliver the message that they consider the current DACA debate akin to holding dreamers hostage for political gain.
The third DACA event, also co-sponsored by Bend the Arc:CU, CU Immigration Forum, and CU FAIR, was a candlelight vigil at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 7. It was in front of the Alma Mater statue, at the corner of Green and Wright streets, Champaign.