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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Apr 23, 2014

Rand Paul Visits Chicago To Talk Politics, Education Reform (VIDEO)

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was in Chicago Tuesday to discuss politics and education reform at two events in the city. Progress Illinois recaps some of the highlights from the discussions. 

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
Mon Apr 21, 2014

Foster Pushes Back Against Federal Immigration Detainee Quota

Imagine a criminal justice system that required police to make sure 34,000 people filled its cells every night, regardless of crime, severity or conviction.

While that sounds improbable, it is exactly how the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement goes about its business following a 2009 Congressional mandate. Under the requirements, the agency must fill 34,000 detainee beds in its system every night at an annual cost of $2 billion to taxpayers.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11), along with U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, (D-FL,21), praised the Obama administration’s recent letter opposing the requirement last week, and put renewed energy behind their fight to end ICE detention quotas. Earlier this year, the two legislators introduced a measure to make undocumented immigrants more aware of their rights and set up an Office of Legal Access Programs. The legislation is called the Immigrant Detainee Legal Rights Act  H.R. 3914.

“The budget issues are not lost on either party,’’ Foster said, noting that a policy based on need rather than an arbitrary quota could cut the cost of detentions by $1.4 billion. “That’s why we have bipartisan support.’’

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Apr 16, 2014

Chicago Activists To Demand A Stop To Deportations On May Day

Activists participating in the upcoming May Day workers' march and celebration in the city of Chicago will deliver a clear message to President Barack Obama — two million deportations is too many.

May 1, or May Day, is an international day of honoring workers. Since 2006, an annual May Day rally has been held in Chicago, highlighting immigrant rights as an important aspect of the workers' rights debate.

Thousands of people attended last year'sMay Day event in the city to rally for comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which is now stalled in Congress.

This year, the main message is about deportations. The goal is to "try and keep the pressure on the [Obama] administration to do everything that's in their power to defer action to a broader group of immigrants working here in the United States, and do that quickly," said Susan Hurley with Chicago Jobs with Justice.

"We have approached or passed a milestone of 2 million people being deported [under the Obama administration], and that's just too many families being separated," she added. "It's got to stop, and if we can't get legislation that will fix our broken system, then we need to back off the deportations until we can get that legislation."