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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Mar 4, 2013

Schakowsky, Local Residents Sign Covenant Calling For Comprehensive Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-9), faith-based leaders and immigrant advocates broke bread together and signed a covenant Sunday in support of comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.

The covenant calls for an immigration plan that includes support of family unity and integration, a pathway to citizenship, protection of all human rights and an increased focus on addressing the root causes of migration.

“There is a growing realization in Washington that immigration can no longer be pushed to the back burner,” Schakowsky said at the event sponsored by the Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition at the St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston.

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PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Feb 20, 2013

Gingrich, Axelrod Talk Politics, Demographics & The Future Of The Republican Party

In front of a more than 600-person audience, former speaker of the house and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich sat down for a 90-minute conversation with former White House senior adviser, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, and new MSNBC correspondent David Axelrod at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics last night. Progress Illinois was there for the candid discussion.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Feb 19, 2013

Chicago Immigration Reform Advocates Trek To D.C. To Call For Moratorium On Deportations

More than 250 advocates and immigrant workers, including approximately 60 members from the Latino Union of Chicago, met in Washington D.C. last week to make their voices heard by legislators and push for a moratorium on deportations while a deal on immigration reform is being hashed out.

On February 13, immigrant groups from across then nation, organized by the United Workers Congress, attended the first Senate hearing on immigration, met with U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D, IL-4), rallied on the Hill and met with legislators from their respective states.

Members of the Latino Union of Chicago met with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the bipartisan group of senators dubbed the Gang of Eight, to ask about features of their recently released proposal “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

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Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
Fri Feb 15, 2013

Advocates Call On Lawmakers To Have A Heart When It Comes To Federal Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

As the deadline looms for Congress to agree on a budget plan that would avoid an automatic series of spending cuts, a coalition of worker rights', veteran and anti-poverty advocates convened at Federal Plaza Thursday to voice their concerns over the potential negative impact such a move would have for the most vulnerable Americans.

More than $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade, known as sequestration, are set to go into effect March 1. According to a report released last September by the White House Office of Management and Budget, reductions would be made across the board, impacting more than 1,200 agencies and programs.

Singing such tunes as “Stop in the Name of Love”, some 40 to 50 protesters stood in the cold to give what organizers described as a “Valentine’s Day message” to both Illinois Democrat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk to preserve funding for the country’s social safety net.

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PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Feb 13, 2013

Obama Calls For Congress To Act On Progressive Issues In SOTU Address

With a promise to fuel economic growth but not add “a single dime” to America’s deficit, President Obama’s State of the Union address focused on creating middle-class jobs and encouraged bipartisan support for initiatives such as raising the minimum wage.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Feb 6, 2013

Quinn's State Of The State Speech Misses The Mark On Pension Reform

Gov. Pat Quinn led today’s State of the State address by saying Illinois is “at a critical juncture.”

He renewed a call for banning military-style assault weapons, spoke in support of marriage equality legislation, moving voter registration online, and urged a 20 percent increase in the hourly minimum wage, to $10.

Quinn also boasted of workers’ compensation reform, clean water and infrastructure improvements, a Medicaid overhaul, veteran employment initiatives and Illinois becoming the fifth state in the Union to legalize driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

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PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Feb 5, 2013

Illinois Congressmen Work Together In Bipartisan Effort To Update Visa Program

Illinois lawmakers reintroduced the Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security and Reform Act yesterday, legislation that would waive visas for visitors to the U.S. from countries. We take a look at what updating the law would do for residents in countries like Poland.

Quick Hit
by Progress Illinois
Tue Jan 29, 2013

Op-Ed: Immigration Reform Must Include Workers' Rights

The following was written by Amy B. Dean, a fellow at the Century Foundation and principal of ABD Ventures LLC, an organizational development consulting firm that works to develop new and innovative organizing strategies for social change organizations.

At this moment, various plans to reform America's broken immigration system are working their way through Congressional debate. On Monday, a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers unveiled a plan that includes what they call a "tough but fair" path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Last Friday, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with President Obama to discuss the issue, and this caucus' input will be influential in shaping any final legislation.

In the current political climate, immigration reform is broadly popular, with both parties eager to win over the Hispanic electorate in 2014 and 2016. But that doesn't mean that a bipartisan effort will pass a good law -- especially if long-time opponents of immigration reform are only cynically vying for votes. We have every reason to doubt the sincerity of conservatives such as Senator Marco Rubio, who is leading the charge from the Republican side of the aisle with an eye on his own bid for president.

For the Democrats, the challenge will be to avoid simply jumping at the first deal offered by newly converted conservatives. Instead, for the first time in decades, promoters of reform have the opportunity to hold America to its promise of being a land of liberty and justice for all.

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