Normal Mayor Chris Koos is lending his support to a national effort by mayors to allow so-called Dreamers—young people who were brought to this country without documents as children—to remain here legally.
Koos says he voted in favor of a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution asking the Trump administration to extend the Obama-era policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Koos called it "common sense" immigration policy to allow those who arrived as children to remain in the U.S. permanently.
"A lot of them are going into the job market, they are going to college, plenty of instances of Dreamers being in the university systems. They are trying to make a good life for themselves and a productive life that benefits everyone," Koos said.
Nearly 800,000 young people nationwide have benefited from the DACA program and an estimated 87 percent are currently employed, and paying U.S. taxes.
Koos said the town of Normal has not tracked the number of local residents who have been able to remain here through the DACA policy.
Koos said he also thinks quotas should be lifted to make it easier for some immigrants who work in McLean County to obtain permanent residency and citizenship.
"There are quotas from countries. We have a large South Asian Indian population in Bloomington-Normal and the path to citizenship for those people is incredibly difficult," Koos said.
He said, however, he favors an incremental approach to immigrant reform. The first step, he noted, should be extending the DACA policy.
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