August 1, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Announce the Start of IL Dream Act Training for Counselors at Chicago Public Schools

Training will Insure Immigrant Students Receive Accurate, Helpful Information about Opportunities Available

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor’s Office of New Americans (ONA), and the Chicago Public School (CPS) Office of Pathways to College & Career/K-12 Counseling & Advising announced the start of professional training for school counselors, college & career coaches, and community based partners on the Illinois DREAM Act. The IL DREAM Act Training will help immigrant students to receive accurate, helpful information about opportunities available to them.

IL DREAM Act Counselor Training, part of the CPS Summer Institute Days, will take place at DePaul University's McGowan South building August 1st and 2nd from 9:00 am to 11:15 am.  About 150 participants are expected to attend each day.

“As part of our Chicago New Americans Plan, we are conducting counselor training to provide Chicago’s DREAMers and their families with tailored support so students can excel in the classroom and obtain guidance in applying to a college or university,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “With this training we can ensure our undocumented students have information so they can achieve a higher education, access financial resources and seek a bright future.”

The Chicago New Americans Plan recommends a broad array of new programs and initiatives, which are designed to improve the day-to-day lives of immigrants while promoting Chicago’s economic growth and cultural vitality. The plan’s 27 initiatives are grouped into three categories: Our Growth, Our Youth, and Our Communities.

As highlighted in the Chicago New Americans Plan, immigrant students face a range of unique issues, and CPS school staff should be aware of the best ways to support all students by understanding legal changes that affect the guidance that immigrant students should receive. With the IL DREAM Act Training, CPS will train school personnel to provide caring, knowledgeable, and involved teachers and counselors for immigrant students to succeed in school.

Over the course of many months, several organizations participated in the development of the Illinois DREAM Act Training, including the Illinois DREAM Fund Commission, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Northeastern Illinois University, District 113, City Colleges of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago-Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services, Roosevelt University, Enlace Chicago, The Resurrection Project, Legal Assistance Foundation, Asian American Institute, Erie Neighborhood House, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Logan Neighborhood Association, Southwest Organizing Project, Immigrant Youth Justice League, Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago Mayor's Office of New Americans.

In 2011, Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois DREAM Act into law.  The bill states that school service personnel seeking certification must address the needs of serving students who are the children of immigrants [and] if the certificate holder is employed as a counselor in an Illinois public or State-operated secondary school, provide opportunities for higher education for students who are undocumented immigrants.

Illinois has taken steps to support undocumented students. For example, Illinois House Bill 60, passed in 2003, allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Illinois colleges. Additionally, through the Illinois DREAM Act, undocumented students have access to State-run college savings programs and can apply for scholarships from the Illinois DREAM fund.

In June of 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), granting certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings and access to a two year temporary work permit .Every school employee who works closely with undocumented students needs to be aware of the opportunities and resources available to them.