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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Oct 18, 2012

Refugee Community Faces Major Barriers When Seeking Disability And Health Services, Report Finds

Refugees with disabilities and chronic health issues are a hidden population in the Chicagoland area, resulting in numerous barriers to proper health care and social services, panelists at an Access Living town hall meeting said Wednesday night.

The town hall served as a safe space for refugees with disabilities to share their challenges since being resettled in Chicago.

It was also the official launch of a collaborative policy brief that highlights the problem and offers more than a dozen solutions crafted by Access Living, Northwestern University’s Institute for Healthcare Studies and other partners.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Oct 3, 2012

Actually, Romney Would Put An End To The Deferred Action Immigration Program

Upon further review, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is, in fact, basically against President Barack Obama’s deferred action program intended to let some undocumented immigrants avoid deportation.

Romney told the Denver Post Monday that if he won the presidency the candidate would not revoke deportation exemptions already granted by the Obama administration. Romney did not say to the Post if he would continue the program.

However, Romney clarified in comments to the Boston Globe yesterday that he would end deferred action upon taking office in January 2013, if elected.

Whatever the political outcome of Romney’s statements, the policy outcome is clear: Ending deferred action a few months after it started would render the program mostly ineffective.

Quick Hit
by Brandon Campbell
Tue Oct 2, 2012

Watchdog Group Slams Wells Fargo For Ties To Private Prison Industry

The United States prison industry continues to shift towards private ownership of facilities, and the immigrant and minority populations in most prisons now disproportionately outnumber white inmates.

In light of these details, an economic advocacy group is pointing an accusatory finger at Wells Fargo for being a major financier of some of the largest private prison companies in the country.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Tue Sep 25, 2012

Deferred Action Immigration Program Gets Started Amid Heated Election Cycle

The Obama administration's deferred action program, which is intended to let undocumented immigrants age 30 and under avoid deportation, is just getting started amid concerns the initiative could abruptly end if Republican nominee Mitt Romney wins the presidency.

Douglas Rivlin, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago), a consistent national voice on immigration policy, acknowledges that program applications have “taken more time per applicant” than initially anticipated. “It takes a while to fill out the application and get all the documents you need,” Rivlin says.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Aug 15, 2012

Thousands Of 'Dream Relief' Applicants Converge On Navy Pier (VIDEO)

A historic Obama administration executive order kicked in today that would enable 1.4 million undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 to apply for a two-year reprieve from the threat of deportation.

At the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom in Chicago the initial demand was overwhelming – up to 15,000 people showed up to apply at a “Dream Relief Day” organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) advocacy group. The event doubled as informational workshop and political rally for additional changes in national immigration policy.

According to ICIRR spokeswoman Monica Trevino, only 1,500 of the undocumented immigrants who snaked their way around Navy Pier into the ballroom were able to fill out an application. The rest were given a packet on how to apply, information that is also available on DreamRelief.org.

“There were more people than we anticipated,” Trevino says. “It was nice to see that people are really interested.”

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Tue Jul 31, 2012

Gutierrez Confident DHS Is Ready For Deportation Relief Program

The Obama administration issues guidelines tomorrow for a plan that will allow up to 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in America to live in the U.S. without fear of deportation for two years.

When announced by President Barack Obama in June, the policy was hailed as a major breakthrough by immigrant rights advocates. There are questions, though, about implementation and whether the program will lead to further pro-immigrant initiatives.

But U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago), a national leader on immigration issues and a past Obama critic on the topic, spoke confidently today about the implementation, stating that DHS “is going to be ready” August 15, the day the policy kicks off.