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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. Read more »

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.” Read more »

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. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Mon Jun 18, 2012

Gutierrez Hails Obama, Vows To Help With Implementation Of Immigrant Policy Change

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago) championed this afternoon President Barack Obama’s Friday announcement that the Department of Homeland Security would enable a large swath of undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 to avoid deportation.

The announcement could mean a work permit, drivers license, and living without the fear of deportation for an estimated 70,000 people in Illinois and 1.4 million people nationally, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the Migration Policy Institute.

But Gutierrez also focused on the implementation of Obama’s executive action, warning that there will be people “who want to exploit and take advantage of this situation” by, for example, making immigrants pay for bogus legal information. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Jun 13, 2012

No Detention Center For Crete, But ICE To Look Elsewhere Near Chicago

The Crete Village Board unanimously voted Monday night not to go forward with a planned federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in their village boundaries – meaning ICE will likely approach another small town near Chicago. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Fri Jun 1, 2012

Early Release Program & Gambling Bill Advance; Detention Center Ban & Tenaska Bills Die

The Illinois spring legislative session ended last night, meaning state lawmakers will meet just once again the rest of the year, for a brief fall veto session, though Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to convene lawmakers this summer to pass pension legislation.

Key legislative items were decided, including the House rejecting a bill to effectively ban a federal immigrant detention center, but passing a bill to bring back an early release prison program. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed May 23, 2012

State Rep Frustrated With Crete Village Board Over Inaction On Controversial ICE Detention Center

With the clock ticking on whether a bill to effectively halt an immigrant detention center in Crete passes the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois House member who represents Crete unloaded on that town’s Village Board for not taking a clear position on the matter.

“They have failed their residents and they have failed me as a representative,” State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) told Progress Illinois. “There is a lack of courage and a lack of leadership on the part of village trustees.”

Read more »