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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Activists Call On Rep. Lipinski To Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

Approximately 50 immigrant rights activists held a prayer vigil outside the Chicago office of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D, IL-3) Wednesday, hoping to convince the lawmaker to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Lipinski, who was one of only six Democrats in the U.S. House to support a Republican-authored restrictive abortion bill last month, has generally been unclear regarding his position on immigration reform and has not offered his support for legislation that was recently passed in the U.S. Senate.

“Monday, July 15, was Congressman Lipinski’s birthday, and I want to congratulate him because he could celebrate his birthday with his family. Today is my husband’s birthday, and because of the broken immigration system, he is not with his family,” said Carolina Rivera, 40, one of Wednesday’s demonstrators. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Jul 16, 2013

Racial Justice Event Highlights Need For Solidarity Among U.S. Minority And Immigrant Communities (VIDEO)

Too seldom are cultural and ethnic barriers bridged between Chicago’s black and brown minority and immigrant communities, according to Alie Kabba, an immigrant from Sierra Leone and executive director of the Chicago-based United African Organization (UAO).

Dubbed the Racial Justice Roundtable, UAO hosted its third and final workshop on the effect of racism and racial inequality on immigrant and minority communities over the weekend. The workshop highlighted different forms of racial inequality, including institutional and structural racism, and discussed the need for all communities of color to come together on a unified mission for social justice.

“Too often we work within different silos and we are never really connected,” said Kabba regarding Illinois’ numerous immigrant rights and advocacy organizations. “We want to make sure those of us engaged in the work of social justice are building black-brown alliances and starting to use a racial justice lens in our discourse about public policy issues and their impact on our communities.”

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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jul 11, 2013

IL Immigration Reform Advocates to U.S. House Leadership: Take Up The Senate Bill

Illinois business leaders and immigrant advocates are putting the heat on U.S. House Republicans after they met for a closed-door meeting on immigration Wednesday and signaled that they would not consider the Senate-passed bill. Instead, House GOP leaders say they plan to take their time piecing together their own approach to immigration reform.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jul 8, 2013

Durbin, Illinois Activists Call On U.S. House To Pass Immigration Reform Bill

The comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed out of the Senate last month now faces an uncertain future in the GOP-led House.

Now, it’s more important than ever for immigration reform advocates to ramp up pressure for a bill that would help America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants find a pathway to citizenship, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said at a forum on the topic in Chicago on Monday.

“We may never get another chance,” the senator said at the discussion, sponsored by the Latino Policy Forum and the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The president supports it. We passed it in the Senate now, and we have to let (members of the House) know.”

Durbin said it would take strong community organizing at the district and state level to help sway reluctant House members to push through an immigration reform measure.

“What it all boils down to is there’s a big job ahead of us,” Durbin said. “We achieved quite a bit. We have more to go.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Jun 28, 2013

Immigration Advocates Target Illinois Republicans As Bill Heads To GOP-Led House (VIDEO)

While the U.S. Senate was voting in favor of an immigration reform package that could provide a pathway to citizenship for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, supporters of the legislation were targeting Illinois Republican leaders at a rally in downtown Chicago Thursday.

More than 100 immigration reform advocates at Thursday’s rally vowed to apply pressure on U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R, IL-6), who serves as the House chief deputy whip, and Illinois GOP Party Chairman Jack Dorgan, to demand their support of comprehensive immigration reform.

Passed by a 68-32 vote in the Senate Thursday, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Of 2013, SB 744, now advances to the Republican-controlled U.S. House.

“It’s political suicide if they don’t support immigration reform,” said Yesenia Sanchez, executive director of the West Suburban Action Project (Proyecto de Accion de los Suburbios del Oeste, PASO). “It would not be a very smart decision to stand against this bill. The time is now for commonsense immigration reform and elections are coming up. Immigrants and their allies vote, too.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jun 18, 2013

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Mean Big Gains For Social Security & Medicare, Analysts Say

Medicare and Social Security would see a significant boost in payroll tax contributions if America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants were provided legal status and an earned pathway to citizenship, say health and economic policy experts.

Specifically, if 85 percent of the country’s eligible undocumented immigrants gained legal status and earned citizenship, they would contribute a net gain of $606.4 billion to the Social Security system over a 36-year period, a new report from the Center For American Progress Shows.  

It is estimated that undocumented workers would pay $1.2 trillion in Social Security taxes from their earnings, yet only $580.9 billion in benefits would be doled out to them over those 36 years, according to the report.

The potential net gain is enough to fund the retirement of 2.4 million Americans, said Patrick Oakford, an economic policy research assistant at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the report.

“That’s your parents, my parents, grandparents, someone’s neighbor,” Oakford said. “Those retirement benefits will be supported by the undocumented population if we allow them to travel the earned pathway to citizenship.” 

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