To the Erikson community,
Our mission at Erikson is to ensure all children have equitable opportunities to meet their potential. The termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order to protect individuals (also referred to as DREAMERS) who entered the country unauthorized as children, extends beyond the young people who have pursued the protection under this policy. While the estimate of 42,400 in Illinois is used throughout the media to quantify those affected here in our home state, the safety, future, and sanctity of countless family members—in some cases their very own children who are U.S. citizens—will be in jeopardy.
DREAMERS, including some Erikson alumni, have built their identity in this country, contributed their talent to our nation, and demonstrated nothing short of the exceptionalism their parents dreamed of when making that fateful decision to flee their homeland in search of better opportunities for their children.
It is unconscionable to punish young people for doing everything we asked them to do: come out of the shadows, pursue an education, serve the military, and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity.
It is illogical to deport young people who call this country home and separate them from their families and children.
It also makes no economic sense to deploy limited resources to remove an educated and skilled base that fills a void in the 21st century workforce. The Center for American Progress estimates a $426 billion loss in GDP with the elimination of DACA over 10 years.
What is clear with the termination of this policy is that the well-being of young people and children is not protected. As child advocates, we can and must do better to ensure all children have equitable opportunities to meet their potential.
We will continue to provide resources and services to educators and families who are experiencing trauma from the constant threat of deportation and anti-immigrant policies through our work in school districts across the state and the soon-to-be-opened Center for Children and Families in Chicago’s Little Village community, home to many immigrant families. We will continue to lift our voices and advocate for the protection of children and their well-being, the necessity of keeping families together to advance our country, and to uphold human rights.
Geoffrey A. Nagle, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
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