CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thursday was the last day for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to renew their applications.
DACA renewals had to be received and processed by October 5th, not just postmarked. DACA offers protection from deportation for undocumented children who came to the United States with their parents.
Susana Salgado, an instructor who teaches citizenship classes at Centro Romero on the far North Side, said her own legal status was on her mind Thursday.
"I got my letter from USCIS, saying they have received my application...so that's good. It's making me feel less worried," Salgado said.
Salgado is one of 40,000 DACA applicants in Illinois. Her parents brought her to the United States when she was 7 years old. Above her desk, there is a #DEFENDDACA sign.
"We grew up here. We love this country. We love the culture," she said.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights said people who met the deadline Thursday should still be able to get their DACA renewed for another two years because legally, the program remains intact.
The next step, according to the co-founder of The Resurrection Project, must happen in the nation's capitol.
"We need a permanent solution and that's only going to come if we have a legislative fix in D.C.," said Raul Raymundo, co-founder of The Resurrection Project.
Out of 42,000 DACA recipients, the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition said 36,000 are employed. The group called on Congress to pass DACA legislation Thursday, releasing a statement that said, in part:
"Last month, nearly 800 American CEOs signed an open letter urging Congress to pass a legislative solution to DACA, stating that without swift action from Congress to replace DACA, our economy stands to lose $460.3 billion in national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions. Illinois is home to over 42,000 DACA recipients - 36,000 of whom are in our workforce - and without a legislative solution to DACA, Illinois stands to lose $2.3 billion in GDP annually."
On DACA renewal deadline, recipients call on Congress to pass legislation