ICIRR Continues Fight

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Amid shock and devastation as Donald Trump chanted victory on Tuesday night, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) vowed to continue their efforts to protect the rights of many immigrants across the Chicagoland area on Wednesday morning during a post elections press conference in the Loop. “We will continue in the fight to keep families together, to protect workers, to protect our communities,” said ICIRR’s CEO and Executive Director Lawrence Benito. “We will stand together to ensure that everyone’s right is met.” ICIRR also took the opportunity to celebrate the work of hundreds of leaders and volunteers who registered 25,292 new voters throughout Illinois and mobilized more than 50,000 immigrant voters to the polls.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

“On the federal level, the outcome of the presidential and Congressional races could set the stage for a renewed push for immigration reform—or for harsher policies that will disrupt families, workplaces, and communities. On the state level, the budget impasse continues to harm immigrant communities despite the stopgap budget approved in June. Immigrant services funding remains tied up, limiting the ability of community organizations to provide help with immigration cases and other vital needs. Our new elected officials can choose to encourage citizenship and respect immigrant contributions, or risk alienating the growing and increasingly important immigrant vote,” said Benito. Immigrant communities are the fastest growing electoral group in the US, with 800,000 Latinos turning 18 every year and 8.8 million green card holders eligible for US citizenship across the country (including 370,000 in Illinois). Applications for citizenship in the Chicago district (covering most of Illinois) increased 14.7 percent between April-June 2015 to April-June 2016. Nationwide, naturalization applications rose 32.1 percent between those periods.

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