Illinois Wesleyan rally calls for keeping DACA

Illinois Wesleyan University
About 200 DACA supporters attended a rally on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus on Thursday. (Photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Illinois Wesleyan University became the hub for demonstrations Thursday to protect DACA from extinction by the Trump Administration.

About 200 people gathered on the IWU quad, calling on lawmakers to maintain the legal status for the nation’s 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to America when they were kids.

Many in the crowd carried signs, including “Nobody is illegal,” “Dreamers Welcome,” “Save DACA” and “Save Dreams.”

They were welcomed by IWU President Eric Jensen.

“We are what we are because we are a community of and we are the community we are because we are diverse,” Jensen told the crowd.

Jensen lauded the community’s diversity, and he commended Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s participation in a lawsuit aimed at preventing the elimination of DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

IWU Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger didn’t mince words about the Trump Administration’s immigration stance.

“Like you, I am again appalled by the callous and cruel unthinking decisions of the president and the way in which he panders to the worst nativist, racist impulses of some in this country.” Winger said.

Demonstrators marched from the Joslin Atrium on the quad to the nearby Aspiration Fountain.

IWU protests follow similar gatherings earlier this week on the Illinois State University quad and in Uptown Normal, near the office of Central Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis.

The lawmaker called for a permanent, bipartisan immigrant plan that balances compassion and lawfulness.

Wesleyan’s president said there are fewer than 10 so-called Dreamers on campus, and it was revealed Thursday on WJBC’s Scott Laughlin show that two of the students play for IWU’s football team.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com.

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