Who knows how long congress will continue to drag its feet on immigration reform, but luckily for immigrants across the country, local and state governments have decided they can’t wait.
From coast to coast, Americans are implementing their own reforms, including offering in-state tuition to immigrants, making it easier for them to get a bank account, or even passing their own (non-enforceable) immigration laws. The latest effort in this grassroots immigration reform effort comes from Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on April 11 that 23,000 city positions will be open to immigrants who were brought here as children.
These immigrants, known as DREAMers for the long-delayed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act that would provide them with a path to citizenship and access to higher education if it ever passes, can now apply for 30 mayor’s office fellowships, 500 city internships, and 22,000 jobs in the city’s summer jobs program: One Summer Chicago. To qualify, applicants must have been brought to the United States as children, have lived here for five years, and kept out of trouble with the law. The city will publicize the opportunities in neighborhoods with high percentages of immigrants.
“Chicago is a city that was built by immigrants, and I am committed to ensuring that DREAMers have the same opportunities offered by the city to all of Chicago’s youth,” Emanuel said, according to Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business. “We will open doors to support talented young people.”
MORE: Tired of Waiting for Immigration Reform, One Man is Giving Undocumented Students a Shot at the American Dream