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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:44pm
Mon Feb 2, 2015

Report: Immigration Reform Crucial To Midwest Agricultural Success

Current U.S. immigration policy fails to adequately address agricultural industry needs, and congressional reforms are required to strengthen immigrant-dependent farm and food sectors in the Midwest and elsewhere in the county, argues a recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The report, which says "immigration reform is urgently needed for a robust agricultural sector in the Midwest," followed President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration announced late last year.

According to the council, Obama's executive orders fall short for agriculture in part because only 250,000 of the up to 5 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary relief from deportation under the plan will be farm workers.

"In November, President Obama announced long-awaited executive action on immigration policy, but the measure provides at best only minimal benefit to farm workers," Michele Wucker, vice president of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said in a statement. "At worst, it may actually worsen critical labor shortages at farms across the region."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:42pm
Thu Jan 22, 2015

Worker Advocacy Group Calls For Strong Federal Overtime Reforms

Ahead of new overtime regulations expected to be released by the Labor Department next month, the National Employment Law Project is calling for strong reforms to ensure workers are compensated fairly for the long hours they work. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue and the group's recommendations.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:38pm
Fri Jan 16, 2015

Durbin, Gutierrez Slam 'Hateful' Republican Legislation To Rollback Immigration Programs (VIDEO)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) decried legislation passed in the GOP-led House this week that would block President Barack Obama's recent executive actions on immigration and end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Speaking at a Friday morning press conference in Chicago, the two lawmakers also shamed Republicans for "instilling fear" in people who are getting ready to apply for administrative relief under the president's immigration orders signed in November.

On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House approved a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill including amendments that would reverse Obama's immigration plan and defund the DACA program, which grants a two-year protection against deportation for immigrants who came to the United States as young children.

"On the floor of the United States House of Representatives, they passed what I would consider to be one of the most hateful measures in modern congressional history," Durbin said at Erie Neighborhood House, 1347 W. Erie St. "What they said was this: If you are a person who benefits from DACA ... you will not be able to renew your DACA status. Nor if you didn't apply in the past can you file for the first time for DACA. Well how many people will be affected by that Republican amendment? We estimate 2 million young people in America eligible to sign up for DACA. Six-hundred thousand have already signed up for DACA, 30,000 in the state of Illinois."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:38pm
Wed Jan 14, 2015

Chicagoans Pack Hearing On Using South Side Park Space For Obama Library

About 1,000 South Siders, preservationists and others packed the second of two spirited Chicago Park District hearings Wednesday afternoon to discuss the possible use of parkland for the Barack Obama presidential library. Progress Illinois was there for the meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:04pm
Mon Dec 8, 2014

Report: 'Ambitious' Growth In U.S. Wind Energy Needed To Address Climate Change

If 30 percent of the nation's electricity came from wind energy by 2030, the country would sharply cut global warming pollution and meet carbon-reduction targets in the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan.

That's according to a recent report by the Environment Illinois Research and Education Center, which analyzed the potential benefits of a scenario in which wind power supplied 30 percent of U.S. electricity needs by 2030. Wind power currently generates 4 percent of the country's electricity.

Achieving 30 percent wind energy by 2030 would reduce U.S. power-plant carbon pollution to 40 percent below 2005 levels, according to the report. And those projected carbon reductions would be more than enough to comply with the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan regulations, which look to slash CO2 emissions from existing U.S. power plants to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

"That much wind power would help states meet and exceed the carbon dioxide emission reductions called for by the Environmental Protection Agency's draft Clean Power Plan, and help the nation meet its commitment to cut U.S. carbon pollution by 26 to 28 percent by 2025" as part of a climate change agreement with China announced by President Barack Obama in November, the report reads.

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