LOCKPORT – A group of about 10 people staged a sit-in at the Lockport office of Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, on Tuesday afternoon in order to get an answer on his position regarding the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act is a bill that would grant legal status to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children.
Ricardo Loza, a division director with the SEIU, said the group was there to get a clear answer as to what Lipinski’s stance on a clean DREAM Act was.
“We are here to highlight the importance (of the Dreamers) to Congressman Lipinski,” Loza said. “And encourage him to support a clean bill with nothing else, no strings attached.”
In September, President Donald Trump announced he would end the DACA program, which gives temporary legal status to about 700,000 Dreamers, and gave Congress until March to act. At that time, Lipinski renewed his support for a bipartisan bill called the Bridge Act, which would also grant DACA recipients legal protection from deportation, but only temporarily.
The sit-in was peaceful. The office worker there called the police after the group said they would not leave until they got an answer, and about five officers eventually showed up to keep the peace.
The office worker was able to contact Lipinski’s staff, and although they said that his views were favorable toward the protesters’ concerns, they could not explicitly give a straight answer.
The protesters also said they noticed a stack of about 45 campaign signs for Lipinski in the office, which they claimed might be a violation of the House of Representatives ethics. The office worker said he did not know the signs were there and removed them from the office sometime after the protesters pointed them out.
On the House Ethics website, it does state that “official resources of the House must, as a general rule, be used for the performance of official business of the House, and hence those resources may not be used for campaign or political purposes.”
After nearly an hour and a half, the police asked the protesters to leave at 4:30 p.m., when the building closed, and they complied, although they did not get their answer.
However, the organizer of the sit-in, Suzanna Ibarra of the Will County Progressives, said they would continue to put pressure on Lipinski.
“We’ll keep this up until we get an answer,” Ibarra said.