Immigrant leaders call on congressmen, senators to keep DACA

CHICAGO (AP) — Members of the state’s largest immigrant rights group say they’re boosting efforts to preserve a federal program protecting young immigrants from deportation.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said Thursday that they’ve scheduled meetings with most Illinois congressmen and U.S. senators. The others will get unannounced visits.

The activists are seeking legislation to make the rules established under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, permanent. They’re also urging a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

But top Democratic leaders have said their first focus is DACA, which critics refer to as “illegal amnesty.”

President Donald Trump has said he’ll halt DACA if Congress doesn’t act to continue it. Democratic leaders had initially said they’d reached a deal with Trump on the program, but that’s been under question.