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Gang of Eight
Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Aug 6

Attempts To Deport Nine DREAMers Gets Spotlight As Grassroots Immigration Reform Efforts Surge On

Nicho Gonzalez said he is confident his undocumented friend Lulu Martinez, who is without a criminal record, will soon be released from the Arizona immigrant detention center at which she has been held since June.

Her “unwarranted” detention, he said, will send the message to all of America’s undocumented immigrants that “it’s time to stand up and let our voices be heard.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Jul 17

Activists Call On Rep. Lipinski To Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

Approximately 50 immigrant rights activists held a prayer vigil outside the Chicago office of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D, IL-3) Wednesday, hoping to convince the lawmaker to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Lipinski, who was one of only six Democrats in the U.S. House to support a Republican-authored restrictive abortion bill last month, has generally been unclear regarding his position on immigration reform and has not offered his support for legislation that was recently passed in the U.S. Senate.

“Monday, July 15, was Congressman Lipinski’s birthday, and I want to congratulate him because he could celebrate his birthday with his family. Today is my husband’s birthday, and because of the broken immigration system, he is not with his family,” said Carolina Rivera, 40, one of Wednesday’s demonstrators. Read more »

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jul 11

IL Immigration Reform Advocates to U.S. House Leadership: Take Up The Senate Bill

Illinois business leaders and immigrant advocates are putting the heat on U.S. House Republicans after they met for a closed-door meeting on immigration Wednesday and signaled that they would not consider the Senate-passed bill. Instead, House GOP leaders say they plan to take their time piecing together their own approach to immigration reform.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Jun 28

Immigration Advocates Target Illinois Republicans As Bill Heads To GOP-Led House (VIDEO)

While the U.S. Senate was voting in favor of an immigration reform package that could provide a pathway to citizenship for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, supporters of the legislation were targeting Illinois Republican leaders at a rally in downtown Chicago Thursday.

More than 100 immigration reform advocates at Thursday’s rally vowed to apply pressure on U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R, IL-6), who serves as the House chief deputy whip, and Illinois GOP Party Chairman Jack Dorgan, to demand their support of comprehensive immigration reform.

Passed by a 68-32 vote in the Senate Thursday, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Of 2013, SB 744, now advances to the Republican-controlled U.S. House.

“It’s political suicide if they don’t support immigration reform,” said Yesenia Sanchez, executive director of the West Suburban Action Project (Proyecto de Accion de los Suburbios del Oeste, PASO). “It would not be a very smart decision to stand against this bill. The time is now for commonsense immigration reform and elections are coming up. Immigrants and their allies vote, too.” Read more »

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Jun 17

Local ICE Raid Ramps Up Efforts To Stop Deportations During Immigration Debate (VIDEO)

Immigrant day laborers are seen as disposable, easy targets by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to immigrant rights advocates who campaigned for the release of an undocumented Guatemalan worker who was arrested in Chicago Wednesday. He now faces deportation. The raid has reinvigorated efforts to stop deportations while comprehensive immigration reform is considered in Congress.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri May 31

As U.S. House Works On Immigration Reform Bill, Health Care Remains An Area Of Contention (VIDEO)

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D, IL-4) said one of the most challenging aspects of comprehensive immigration reform is providing health care to America’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, without spending taxpayer dollars.

“We have to figure out how to keep (undocumented immigrants) healthy, how to make sure they continue to get medical treatment and don’t become a charge [to taxpayers],” he said.

Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed May 29

Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone Pipeline, Stop Deportations (VIDEO)

Environmentalists and comprehensive immigration reform advocates protested outside Chicago's Downtown Hilton where President Barack Obama and other key political leaders attended a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser Wednesday evening.

Activists called upon Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants and reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, among other issues.

Yesenia Najera, 11, a leader of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, said her father was deported earlier this month.

"It is not fair," she said. "My dad is a good person and will always care for me and my brother and sister."

No other child should have to endure that kind of pain, she said.

Najera had one question for Obama.

"Will you stand for immigration families, and stop all deportation until immigration reform passes," she asked. "Not one more. Not one more."

Read more »