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Latino Policy Forum

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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:46pm
Tue Aug 18

Chicago Aldermen, Advocates Release City Proposals To Strengthen Immigrant Integration

Chicago aldermen and immigrant advocates unveiled a list of proposals Tuesday aimed at improving the lives of immigrants across the city.

Issues of language access, legal representation, safety and services for immigrants are addressed in the Chicago Immigration Policy Working Group's six-point immigrant integration plan.

The newly-formed working group is comprised of three Chicago council members, Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), and 14 leading immigrant advocacy organizations such as the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Latino Policy Forum and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

"Two years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated that he is committed to making Chicago the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States," Ramirez-Rosa said at a Tuesday press conference. "As the Chicago Immigration Working Group, we share that commitment, and we're excited to get to work alongside the mayor to fulfill that goal."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:07pm
Tue May 19

Experts: Higher Education Reinvestments Needed In Illinois & Nationwide

Illinois, and nearly every other U.S. state, is spending less today on higher education than when the Great Recession started, according to new research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

CBPP's report, issued last week, details how state-level cuts to higher education funding over recent years have been a key cause of "steep tuition increases that threaten to put college out of reach for more students." The center's research comes at a time when Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed deep cuts to higher education as part of his 2016 budget plan. 

"College-educated workers are essential to our nation's economic success," CBPP policy analyst and report co-author Michael Mitchell said in a statement. "States must reinvest in their colleges and universities now to build the workforce they need to compete in decades to come."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:12pm
Mon Mar 23

New Poll Looks At Latino Perspectives In Chicago Mayoral Race

A new survey shows Latino registered voters in Chicago overwhelming support Chicago mayoral challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia over Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But while Latino voters are strongly pro-Garcia, they are not necessarily anti-Emanuel, the polling results indicate.

Of the 406 Latino survey respondents, 61 percent opted for Garcia, while 18 percent said they would vote for Emanuel if the April 7 runoff were held today. Twenty-one percent of survey respondents were undecided in the poll, conducted March 16 through March 20.

Latino Decisions' bilingual telephone survey -- co-sponsored by the Latino Policy Forum, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) and Univision Chicago -- has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.

Representatives from the groups involved with the survey, along with Northwestern University political science lecturer Jamie Dominguez, whose expertise includes Latino and Chicago politics, spoke at a Monday morning forum to discuss to the polling results.

Panelists stressed the importance of the new survey, noting that the Latino vote is generally under-polled in Chicago mayoral polls.

"No other poll conducted this season has aimed to connect directly with (Latinos) or sought to gauge their perspective on critical issues," Dominguez noted.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Wed Dec 3, 2014

Immigrant Advocacy Groups Prep Community For Executive Actions, Warn About Scammers

Now that President Barack Obama has signed executive orders on immigration reform, advocates are working to educate those in the immigrant community about the options available to them and potential immigration scams.

"We're really trying to inform the community that nothing can be filed right now, and they shouldn't listen to any unscrupulous individuals that are saying that they can file applications for them at this point," said Rocio Alcantar, supervising attorney with the Heartland Alliance's Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:32pm
Wed Feb 5, 2014

Former House Speaker Hastert, Cardinal George Push For Immigration Reform

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Cardinal Francis George joined Illinois business leaders at a discussion in Chicago Tuesday afternoon to press House Republicans to pass immigration reform this year.

Hastert, a Republican who served as House speaker from 1999 to 2007, said immigration reform should accomplish two key goals. He says there should be a pathway to legalization and eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. The nation's borders also have to be deemed secure, and checkpoints need to be open and able to facilitate people coming in and out of the country, the former lawmaker said.

"Where are we today in Congress," he asked those at the event, hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. "Is there a possibility that we can do that? I think so. I am not going to name names, but I sat down with a couple of those [ House GOP] leaders within the last eight or nine months and talked about these issues, and I think there's an understanding, and I think it's time that we move forward."

Cardinal George, the archbishop of Chicago, joined Hastert in support of a pathway to citizenship. He also called on the federal government to halt deportations.

"We should end deportations because they break up families, and the family, not the individual, the family is the basic unit of our society," George told reporters in remarks after the event, held at DePaul University. "If you break up families deliberately, you're going to have a much weaker society, and besides, the human suffering of the children especially and also the spouse." 

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:57pm
Tue Jul 16, 2013

Racial Justice Event Highlights Need For Solidarity Among U.S. Minority And Immigrant Communities (VIDEO)

Too seldom are cultural and ethnic barriers bridged between Chicago’s black and brown minority and immigrant communities, according to Alie Kabba, an immigrant from Sierra Leone and executive director of the Chicago-based United African Organization (UAO).

Dubbed the Racial Justice Roundtable, UAO hosted its third and final workshop on the effect of racism and racial inequality on immigrant and minority communities over the weekend. The workshop highlighted different forms of racial inequality, including institutional and structural racism, and discussed the need for all communities of color to come together on a unified mission for social justice.

“Too often we work within different silos and we are never really connected,” said Kabba regarding Illinois’ numerous immigrant rights and advocacy organizations. “We want to make sure those of us engaged in the work of social justice are building black-brown alliances and starting to use a racial justice lens in our discourse about public policy issues and their impact on our communities.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
12:02pm
Mon Jul 15, 2013

Reform Advocates Pledge To Change Illinois' Redistricting Process Before Next Remap

Illinois’ redistricting process provides that the average resident doesn’t have fair electoral representation, according to supporters of a newly-formed campaign to change the way the state’s political lines are drawn. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the state's remapping process.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:19pm
Mon Jul 8, 2013

Durbin, Illinois Activists Call On U.S. House To Pass Immigration Reform Bill

The comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed out of the Senate last month now faces an uncertain future in the GOP-led House.

Now, it’s more important than ever for immigration reform advocates to ramp up pressure for a bill that would help America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants find a pathway to citizenship, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said at a forum on the topic in Chicago on Monday.

“We may never get another chance,” the senator said at the discussion, sponsored by the Latino Policy Forum and the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The president supports it. We passed it in the Senate now, and we have to let (members of the House) know.”

Durbin said it would take strong community organizing at the district and state level to help sway reluctant House members to push through an immigration reform measure.

“What it all boils down to is there’s a big job ahead of us,” Durbin said. “We achieved quite a bit. We have more to go.”

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