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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
7:15pm
Thu Jun 23, 2016

Illinois Immigration Reform Advocates Vow To Press On After Supreme Court's Split Vote On Executive Orders (VIDEO)

The U.S. Supreme Court announced a 4-4 split on the case challenging President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration reform and Illinois advocates are expressing their dismay as they plan to press their efforts forward.

The deadlock vote means the president's November 2014 orders to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and install the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) have been blocked for the time being.

The programs would have deferred deportation for three years for undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders, while also expanding protections for people who were brought to the U.S. as minors and were not covered by the original DACA program. More than 4 million immigrants would have benefited from the orders, 280,000 people living in Illinois.

"This ruling is deeply frustrating and disappointing for all immigrant communities," said Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights CEO Lawrence Benito.  "Instead of being able to move forward with our lives and contributing further to our entire community, immigrants remain vulnerable to the knock on the door that could separate them from their families and from the lives they have made in this country."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:39pm
Mon Nov 24, 2014

Lame Duck Congress Faces Tight Budget Deadline To Avert Government Shutdown

Federal lawmakers are up against a December 11 deadline to pass spending legislation to avert a government shutdown. Progress Illinois previews what's ahead for Congress in the remaining days of the lame duck session, including a possible budget showdown over President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:39pm
Tue Apr 22, 2014

Congresswoman Kelly Committed To Renewing Push For Federal Gun Control Legislation

Although gun-control legislation has stalled in Congress, "common-sense gun reform" remains one of U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly's top priorities, the Democratic congresswoman said at a Monday night event in East Hazel Crest to review her first year in the House.

Kelly, a former state representative, was elected last April to fill the 2nd congressional district seat left vacant by disgraced former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. after he resigned in 2012. The district covers Chicago’s far Southeast Side and a large swath of the southern suburbs.

While in Congress, Kelly introduced gun-control legislation meant to place stricter safety standards on guns and keep "violent, dangerous people" from being able to purchase firearms. But supporters of gun curbs simply cannot get gun-control legislation to the House floor for a vote, Kelly said. 

"There is gun legislation dealing with background checks, and there is about 180 to 190 bipartisan signatures, Democrats and Republicans," the congresswoman said. "But we cannot get it called to the floor, so what I tell people when people come and see me about the gun issue [is], 'I'm your choir.' So we need to call other people across the United States and call Speaker [John] Boehner [to] at least [bring] the bill to committee and to the floor and let it be voted up or down." 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:42pm
Fri Feb 28, 2014

Policy Experts Provide Insight On Obstacles & Solutions To Redistricting Reform

The national “partisan arms race” that comes with the redistricting process is a leading obstacle for those who want to see states reform the way electoral district boundaries are drawn, said panelists at a redistricting reform discussion at the University of Chicago. Progress Illinois provides some of the highlights from the panel discussion.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:49pm
Tue Feb 18, 2014

Illinois Elected Officials Discuss The Benefits Of Passing Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

Immigration reform is not dead, according to a group of elected officials who on Tuesday met in Chicago to discuss the benefits of providing a streamlined path to citizenship for America’s more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“So many people in America feel that comprehensive immigration reform is dead, that somehow it doesn’t have any possibility of being enacted into law. And I think, if anything, our presence here on this panel this morning, says that it’s alive and well,” said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D, IL-4). “The conversation is continuing.”

PI Original
by Aricka Flowers
8:07pm
Tue Jan 28, 2014

LIVE BLOG: State Of The Union Address 2014

As President Barack Obama gives his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday night, we will provide you with the highlights from the president's speech.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:33pm
Tue Dec 10, 2013

U.S. Reps. Davis, Roskam Discuss The Future Of Medicare (VIDEO)

As the baby boomers are rapidly aging out of the workforce, the nation’s Medicare program is not financially secure enough to handle the increase in health care beneficiaries, according to a group of panelists who discussed reform proposals for the social safety net Monday night.

“The issue with Medicare is, we need to find more resources and we need to find better ways of delivering care,” said Cheryl Matheis, national senior policy strategist for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). “We need to kind of hit a balance, but nobody has agreed on what the actual balance should be in order to make [the program] sound for the long term.”

Attempting to address what challenges the Medicare program faces and potential solutions for those challenges, Matheis was joined for the panel discussion by U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R, IL-6) and Danny K. Davis (D, IL-7), and Richard Baehr, chief political correspondent of the daily conservative online magazine, American Thinker. The Union League Club of Chicago, at which the panel was held, and WLS 890 AM, a broadcast radio station in Chicago, sponsored the event.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:05pm
Wed Oct 2, 2013

House Dems Introduce Immigration Reform Bill, Call Republicans To Negotiating Table

In the midst of a government shutdown, House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for America's more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The bill, introduced by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12) and other Democratic co-sponsors, is nearly identical to the bipartisan immigration reform package passed by the Senate in June.

Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), said he believes the bill is the direct result of advocates across the country fighting for reform. Benito noted that 160 immigration-related rallies in cities across the country are planned for this weekend to keep up the pressure.

"They're doing what we asked them to do, which is put forward their bill," Benito told Progress Illinois. "We think it's progress in the right direction. It's not perfect, but we believe it's an opportunity for bipartisan negotiations to get the job done."

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