Long-term undocumented residents in Chicago are appealing to President Biden for extended work permits amid the recent influx of migrants at the border. The Biden administration’s announcement in September granting deportation protections and work permits to thousands of Venezuelan migrants has sparked a call for equal treatment from those who have lived in the U.S. for years.
Juana Arreguin, 52, expressed her concern to the Chicago Tribune, urging the president not to overlook long-standing residents like her. Chicago, along with other cities such as New York, has faced challenges accommodating the recent surge of over 20,000 migrants since August 2022. The looming winter season adds to these concerns, particularly for housing.
Erendira Rendon, a recipient of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), joined the chorus of voices demanding work permits, emphasizing fairness and equality. At a rally, Consuelo Martinez echoed similar sentiments, calling for the opportunity to work without fear.
The situation has led to widespread protests, including a large march in Washington, D.C., where thousands of immigrants demanded that the Biden administration extend work permits to the millions of undocumented migrants in the country. José Guerrero, a landscaper from Florida, voiced frustration to the Associated Press over the disparity in treatment between new arrivals and those who have contributed to the country for years.
The recent policy changes allowed around 270,000 individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to apply for temporary legal status since October. Arreguin, reflecting on her long stay in the U.S., highlighted the contributions of long-term undocumented residents who, she argued, deserved recognition and support similar to newer migrants.
This plea from Chicago’s undocumented community comes as reports emerge of Venezuelan migrants voluntarily returning home, preferring the familiarity of their country over the daunting prospect of a harsh Chicago winter.