Chicago Mayor Hand Delivers Letter To Trump On Protecting Immigrant Youth

A battle is brewing on immigration.

On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump received a letter from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about how to handle the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers currently living in the United States.

In it, Emanuel and 14 other mayors signed off on their positions regarding the close to one million undocumented immigrants protected under Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive. The directive aims to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children from deportation while giving them work authorization.

Emanuel's personal delivery of the letter comes just days after Republican Senator Lindsey Graham became an unlikely advocate for the very same DACA recipients. Last week, A Plus spoke to DACA recipient Deyanira Aldana, who came to the United States from Mexico as a young child, about the importance of the bill to her and her family.

"We are human beings, we're here [for] a better life, not only for ourselves but for our communities and all of those people who struggling," Aldana said when asked to address Americans who support mass deportation. "I would encourage those people to use their moral compass when looking at our families. I would just remind them that family separation is something that we're against."


Emanuel's meeting with Trump is an interesting one, to say the least. The Chicago mayor has been an outspoken critic of Trump. After Trump repeatedly caricatured Chicago as little more than a crime-ridden city, Emanuel oversaw city workers as they removed the real-estate turned president-elect's name from street signs outside Trump Tower in Chicago. That move seems a far cry from the $50,000 Trump once donated to Emanuel's mayoral campaign, a donation that was reportedly solicited by Rahm's younger brother Ari, who is a close friend of Trump.  

And in their letter to Trump, Emanuel and his fellow mayors once again took a stand in stark contrast to the mass deportations discussed on the campaign trail.

"Ending DACA would disrupt the lives of close to one million young people, and it would disrupt the sectors of the American economy, as well as our national security and public safety, to which they contribute," Emanuel said in his letter. "We encourage your administration to demonstrate your commitment to the American economy and our security by continuing DACA until Congress modernizes our immigration system and provides a more permanent form of relief for these individuals."

Rahm's efforts are worth recognizing. In conversations that have mostly been about building bridges or building walls, he has focused on the immigrants — the actual people — that are at stake. Much of his public commentary and the policies he's pushed in Chicago are built on the idea that an overwhelming majority of immigrants, undocumented or legal, help spur innovation, growth, diversity and, further more, deserve our empathy. 

View related content:

The mayor's office and several immigration agencies that focus on work in Chicago did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cover photo via: Gregory Reed /


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.