Chicago migrants: Organizers demand Biden issue work permits for eligible Mexican families

Jasmine Minor Image
Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Chicago organizers demand work permits for eligible Mexican families
Where are the migrants coming from? Organizers are demanding President Joe Biden issue work permits for Mexican migrants in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Organizers are demanding President Joe Biden issue work permits for eligible Mexican families.

This comes as Biden met with Mexico's president on Wednesday to address the surge in migrants.

Members of President Joe Biden's cabinet are in Mexico on Wednesday, holding urgent talks with Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition said there are undocumented Mexicans in Chicago who have, in some cases, been waiting for decades just to get a work permit.

And now, they say, if they can get Biden's support, they finally see a way forward for them to make a dependable living.

"That fear still remains, because at any moment, they can get deported," said Saul Arellano.

Arellano said he lives with that fear after watching his mother, an asylum-seeker, get deported when he was just 8 years old.

"She worked as a single mother for many years to make sure that I that nothing missed in my table. And so, essentially, now, after 24 years, I have graduated from college and I have done better for my life," Arellano said.

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Arellano said keeping families together is part of the reason he and others joined the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition for an emergency call, urging Biden to extend temporary work permits for eligible undocumented immigrants.

"It took me 28 years to become legal. Fighting, fighting, always trying to do the best thing," said Abel Vences with the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition.

Vences said Mexican families have been working, contributing to the economy, paying taxes, and still get overlooked for work permits.

Mayors from Chicago, Denver and New York addressed the migrants crisis in a press conference Wednesday.

"All we're asking is for a permit for work, that's all. Biden, you can do it!" Vences said.

Last month, the city launched a pilot program to expedite work permits for newly arrived migrants. But like Vences, there are those who have waited decades for one, and hundreds of thousands that are still waiting and asking the question of "When?"

They say the time is now.

"We have shown how much money power we have. We're the only community that has 12 financial institutions. So that means there's a lot of money," said Little Village Community Council President Baltazar Enriquez.

Enriquez said giving work permits to eligible families is a benefit for everyone. He said no matter who gets the permit, everyone deserves the right to take care of their family.

"The message is stay positive. We will continue we're going to fight until the end. We're not going to give up," Enriquez said.