‘We all belong here’: Chicago students stage walkout in support of undocumented immigrants

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Striving for change, hundreds of Chicago students fighting for undocumented immigrants staged a walkout Wednesday, demanding action from the state’s senior senator. 

Gathering at the corner of Montrose and California, demonstrators like Ariana Aguilar decided to take a stand.  

“The youth are impacted by undocumententation and immigration and we need people to start realizing that once it starts affecting the youth, it’s a serious problem,” Aguilar said.  

HANA Center, Fighting Youth Shouting Out For Humanity, and other social justice groups joined forces to demonstrate.  

In November, the House passed the Build Back Better Act but Wednesday’s group feels BBB does not have a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 

They want Senator Dick Durbin to use his leadership to fight for a pathway to citizenship. 

“He’s chairman of the judicial committee. He’s been fighting for immigrant communities for decades, but they felt as though it was time to really put pressure on him because in this year’s Build Back Better Act, they’re trying to include immigration,” said Glo Choi with the HANA Center. “So young people felt that, in this moment, when they’re waiting for the parliamentarian’s decision on immigration, to regardless of what happens, ensures a pathway to citizenship happens this year.”  

Demonstrator Jay Lobo believes no immigrant ‘is illegal on stolen land.” 

“We all belong here,” Lobo said. “America is a place for everyone to be free and safe and the fact that Durbin is diminishing the needs of immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, is wrong.” 

WGN News reached out to Senator Durbin’s office for comment. Our requests were not immediately returned. 

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Durbin released a statement back in October, however, regarding the inclusion of immigration in the BBB, saying in part: 

“Millions of undocumented people live in this country and contribute to our economy. They deserve to live, work, and travel without fear of deportation. President Biden understands this. That’s why he included immigration reform in his Build Back Better framework.” 

Demonstrators hope the citywide walkout sends a clear message.   

“A pathway to citizenship means easier because DACA or any other program offers temporary stay,” Aguilar said. “Or you have to renew it every time but we don’t want that. We want to stay here.” 

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