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Dick Durbin


Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Consumer Advocates Demand Congress End Farm Bill Subsidies To Food Additive Production, Corporate Farms

If lawmakers are interested in cutting costs during the 2013 reauthorization of the farm bill, they should reduce wasteful spending on subsidies that support processed food additives and already profitable agribusiness corporations, according to members of the consumer advocacy group, U.S. PIRG.

“The way our subsidies are distributed right now is a strong example of how skewed our system is,” said Dani Neuharth-Keusch, assistant community outreach director for Illinois PIRG, who spoke at a press conference Tuesday to release the nationwide research group’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.”

Federally subsidized crop insurance is intended to help farmers manage the risk inherent to their business. According to the report, the current farm bill, enacted in 2008, fails to “appropriately direct federal dollars” with subsidies that “mirror a pattern of special interest influence.”

“We need to push back against subsidies skewed toward big agribusiness and inadequate subsides for fresh produce,” said Neuharth-Keusch.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
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.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Jun 28, 2013

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.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jun 18, 2013

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Mean Big Gains For Social Security & Medicare, Analysts Say

Medicare and Social Security would see a significant boost in payroll tax contributions if America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants were provided legal status and an earned pathway to citizenship, say health and economic policy experts.

Specifically, if 85 percent of the country’s eligible undocumented immigrants gained legal status and earned citizenship, they would contribute a net gain of $606.4 billion to the Social Security system over a 36-year period, a new report from the Center For American Progress Shows.  

It is estimated that undocumented workers would pay $1.2 trillion in Social Security taxes from their earnings, yet only $580.9 billion in benefits would be doled out to them over those 36 years, according to the report.

The potential net gain is enough to fund the retirement of 2.4 million Americans, said Patrick Oakford, an economic policy research assistant at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the report.

“That’s your parents, my parents, grandparents, someone’s neighbor,” Oakford said. “Those retirement benefits will be supported by the undocumented population if we allow them to travel the earned pathway to citizenship.” 

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Jun 17, 2013

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 Ellyn Fortino
Fri Jun 14, 2013

Poll: Illinoisans Overwhelmingly Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

A new state poll released by Public Policy Polling Thursday shows that 78 percent of likely Illinois voters strongly or somewhat support the bipartisan, immigration reform legislation currently being debated in the U.S. Senate.

The survey of 502 likely Illinois voters also shows that 75 percent strongly or somewhat support a bill that includes a tough, but fair pathway to citizenship.

“It’s clear that the public is demanding action on comprehensive reform,” said Dave Bender, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois, on a conference call with reporters Thursday regarding the poll.