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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:38pm
Tue Feb 17

Gutierrez, Illinois Immigration Reformers Call Judge's Ruling A 'Temporary Setback' (VIDEO)

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) says educational outreach around President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration will press ahead, despite a federal judge's ruling on Monday that temporarily stalled the administration's deportation relief plans.

The Obama administration is expected to appeal the judge's ruling, which comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of 26 mostly Republican-run states seeking to stop the president's immigration directives. Illinois has not joined the lawsuit, which claims the two immigration executive orders signed by Obama in November are unconstitutional. The federal judge, Andrew Hanen of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, determined that the states met the minimum requirements needed to proceed with the lawsuit. 

Hanen's temporary injunction blocks Obama's two new immigration programs from taking effect before the case is decided. The application process for one of the new immigration policies was slated to launch Wednesday.

At a Tuesday morning press conference in Chicago, Gutierrez and leaders with SEIU* and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) called the judge's decision a "temporary setback" that won't derail their efforts to help immigrants prepare for administrative relief.

"This process can be delayed, but we as a community will not be deterred," Gutierrez said, adding that he believes Obama's new immigration policies will ultimately prevail after the legal process plays out. "Let's make it absolutely clear that the president's actions are well established in legal precedent."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:12pm
Tue Feb 10

Executive Immigration Actions Could Boost IL Economy; Voters Oppose GOP Efforts Against Relief

President Barack Obama's recent immigration executive actions could greatly benefit Illinois' economy, according to new data. Meanwhile, the battle in Congress over Department of Homeland Security funding rages on as a new poll shows that most Illinoisans oppose GOP efforts, supported by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, to thwart the president's steps on immigration.

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

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."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:54pm
Wed Jan 14

Illinois College Affordability Program At Risk Following Income Tax Rollback, Report Finds

The rollback of the state's temporary income tax hike could mean deep cuts to an Illinois college scholarship program for low-income students, a recent report shows.

Over 45,000 eligible Illinois students could be shut out of the state's Monetary Award Program (MAP) if cuts are made to offset the revenue losses associated with the phaseout of the higher income tax rates that began on January 1, according to the analysis by the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children and Women Employed.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:24pm
Tue Jan 13

Report: Illinois State Revenue Drop Could Lead To $1 Billion In Education Cuts

State lawmakers might be forced to reduce K-12 public education funding for the coming school year by more than $1 billion to offset revenue losses associated with the recent rollback of Illinois' temporary income tax hike, a children's advocacy group is warning.

On January 1, the state income tax dropped from 5 percent to 3.75 percent for individuals and from 7 percent to 5.25 percent for corporations. With the phaseout of the higher tax rates, state revenues are projected to decline by $2 billion in the current fiscal year and about $5.4 billion next fiscal year, according to an analysis by the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who was sworn into office Monday, is expected to provide more specifics on his plan for the state's fiscal issues during his budget address next month.

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