Immigrant advocates are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois legislature to maintain funding for services that help immigrants in the state.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and members of the immigrant community are urging against cuts to the $6.67 million Immigrant Services Line Item (ISLI) within the budget of the Illinois Department of Human Services. The line item, according to ICIRR, represents less than .01 percent of the state's total budget.
"ISLI programs deliver crucial assistance cost-effectively and make an enormous impact benefiting the entire state," the advocacy group said in a news release. "ISLI and other state programs now face severe cuts that would cause many immigrant service organizations to shut down programs, lay off staff, and even close down entirely."
These are the three major programs that ISLI funds, according to ICIRR:
- The Immigrant Family Resource Program provides information and assistance to families interacting with state agencies as they work toward self-sufficiency. The program engages immigrant serving agencies to help IDHS fulfill its legal obligations to provide language-appropriate services.
- The New Americans Initiative brings together immigrant serving organizations to promote U.S. citizenship and provide citizenship application assistance. The program has helped more than 96,000 immigrants with their applications since 2005.
- Uniting America brings together immigrant and native-born leaders for bridge-building volunteer projects that benefit the entire community.