Action Alert! Urge Gov Rauner to Oppose Graham Cassidy

As early as next Monday, Sept 25th Congress could be voting on the newest Affordable Care Act Repeal bill: Graham-Cassidy.

This bill hurts immigrant families.

The Graham Cassidy repeal bill is dangerous and we MUST do everything we can to stop this bill in its tracks before it harms families. If this bill passes, it would:

  • Eliminate the financial assistance that helps low- and moderate-income families purchase health care coverage;
  • End expanded Medicaid coverage that helps millions of low-income adults;
  • Jeopardize access to the most effective treatments for addiction and weaken states’ efforts to address the current crisis of drug overdose deaths;
  • Undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including HIV;
  • Resurrect – and worsen – the devastating cuts in coverage and benefits that the American public and the majority of Congress have already rejected.
  • Attack women’s health, as it removes protection from preexisting conditions.
  • Additionally, the state of Illinois would lose $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid funding by 2026, rising to $9.26 billion in 2027.

Call Gov. Bruce Rauner at 312-814-2121 NOW and demand that he publicly oppose the Graham Cassidy proposal. Governors have proven to be crucial in building opposition to ACA repeal in Congress.

Other serious problems with the Graham Cassidy proposal include:

  • The elimination of the Marketplaces & subsidies would eliminate the option for many immigrants who are not eligible for Medicaid or CHIP to obtain quality, affordable health coverage. It would be a huge step backward and create a loss of coverage in immigrant and mixed-status families.
  • The bill houses its new program—a block grant to states to address health issues in a variety of ways—is housed in the CHIP program. By our reading, this means that the funds available for states must follow CHIP eligibility rules—meaning they are limited to qualified immigrants (unless a state elects to cover lawfully present children and/or pregnant women)
  • The bill would strike from the law some good language regarding privacy and protecting mixed-status that has provided a model for how programs should be structured, for instance explicitly stating that only information necessary for determining eligibility can be collected. Without the underlying ACA Marketplaces, substantively it might not have much effect, but it eliminates a model policy we have often uplifted.

Take Action Now! Call Gov. Rauner and learn more at!

Find DACA Resources & What You Can Do to Take Action!

Here’s what ICIRR and our members and allies are doing in response to the rescission of DACA. Below you will find a list of critical resources leading up to the October 5th deadline to reapply for DACA, and ways that you can get involved to take action.

Click here to visit to see the latest information available.

Click the image below for a list of upcoming DACA workshops between now and Oct. 5th & DACA renewal fee assistance 

NIJC Denounces Trump’s Termination of DACA, Urges DACA Recipients to Seek Legal Counsel


Contact: Tara Tidwell Cullen
(312) 660-1337(312) 833-2967


DACA Recipients Urged to Seek Legal Counsel, Understand Their Rights

CHICAGO (September 5, 2017) – Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is outraged by the Trump administration’s decision to discontinue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Statement of NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy:

“Terminating DACA is a cruel and unjust attack on hundreds of thousands of men and women who have lived most of their lives in the United States as our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, employers, and family members. It is the latest example of the president succumbing to pressure from the most extreme racist and xenophobic factions of his party. By striking DACA, he has thrown  thousands of American families’ futures into uncertainty, brought instability to employers across the country who will lose valuable employees, and further exacerbated fear in communities already coping with the suffocating presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in their neighborhoods. Today, we call on Congress to defend DACA recipients and all immigrants who are being targeted by the Trump administration’s deportation dragnet.”

If you are affected by today’s announcement:

Consult with qualified immigration attorneys about your rights and potential legal options. NIJC is offering the following legal information events and resources:

  • NIJC and The Resurrection Project will host weekly “DACA Tuesdays” information sessions throughout September at community organizations around southwest Chicago. The first session is TONIGHT, September 5, at 5:30 p.m., at La Casa, 1815 S. Paulina St., Chicago. For a full calendar of DACA Tuesday events, visit
  • NIJC will host a community information session on Wednesday, September 6, at 6:00 p.m. at NIJC’s office in the Chicago Loop, 208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1300. The information session will be streamed live on NIJC’s Facebook page at For a full calendar of NIJC legal information sessions, visit
  • NIJC will participate in an information session hosted by Goshen College on Thursday, September 7, at 6:00 p.m. at College Mennonite Church, 1900 S Main St, Goshen, Indiana
  • Schools and groups in the Chicago area and northern Indiana may also request legal information sessions in their own communities by completing the request form
  • To schedule a legal consultation with NIJC, please call 312-660-1370 or

Allies: Help Defend DACA and All Immigrant Communities

Tell Congress to pass legislation that protects DACA recipients and respects the rights of all undocumented immigrants. Take action here.

About DACA: The DACA program was established in 2012 as a temporary solution for millions of undocumented immigrants who have grown up in the United States but, due to Congress’s failure to pass a fair immigration reform bill, had no opportunity to legalize their immigration status. In the program’s five-year history, DACA provided a temporary work authorization and a reprieve from deportation to nearly 800,000 men and women who met the program’s stringent requirements. Because of DACA, individuals remained with and supported their families in the United States, completed their educations, launched careers, bought homes, and participated in society without fear that they may suddenly be exiled from the only home they have ever known.

NIJC attorneys are available for interviews about the legal ramifications of today’s announcement. Contact Tara Tidwell Cullen, director of communications, (312) 660-1337,

With offices in Chicago, Indiana, and Washington, D.C., Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. For more information visit

Forum Statement on DACA – Call on Congress to Pass the DREAM Act

Latino Policy Forum Statement
The White House Rescinds DACA

Call on Congress to Pass the DREAM Act!

CHICAGO, IL – Today the Trump administration formally announced its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program within the next six months. Doing so immediately upends the lives and livelihoods of nearly 800,000 young people, including 42,000-plus Illinoisans, and millions more family members. The Latino Policy Forum unequivocally opposes this decision as irredeemably flawed public policy, morally bankrupt political leadership, and shortsighted economic thinking.

In response to today’s announcement, we call on Congress to make the DREAM Act (S. 1615) an immediate legislative priority. The DREAM Act, co-sponsored by Illinois’ senior Senator Richard Durbin, would allow current DACA recipients and others who may be DACA eligible to remain in the country immediately while also providing an eventual pathway to citizenship.

The DACA program was implemented in August 2012 and has provided recipients with a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation and the incalculable peace of mind that comes with being able to live their lives without the fear of deportation. In exchange, these individuals voluntarily identified themselves to the federal government and trusted in the federal government to treat them with humanity and fairness while a long-term, legislative solution could be agreed upon.

“Not only is the rescission of DACA unconscionable and cruel, it is simply bad public policy,” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Forum. “After months of seesawing between explicitly threatening the programs demise as a presidential candidate and recently making vague promises to treat DACA recipients with ‘heart,’ the President has once again capitulated to the openly xenophobic wing of his base of support.”

The Forum also rejects two false narratives that have been discussed in relation to DACA. We unequivocally reject the:

  1. Continued criminalization of immigrant communities and communities of color. Attorney General Sessions’ remarks today baselessly invoked ‘lawlessness’ and ‘terrorism’ to justify the decision to rescind DACA. Such language is also falsely applied to other communities of color to justify unjust policies that disproportionately criminalize immigrants across the country.
  2. Divide and conquer strategy that continually pits immigrants (undocumented or not) versus U.S.-born workers, particularly African Americans. Veiled comments from Trump surrogates and the Attorney General’s remarks today that rescinding DACA will “further the lives of people struggling economically” only serve to fuel resentment of immigrants and their presence in this country.

As we debate the future of DACA and possible legislation in the coming months we also call for a political and social dialogue on the push factors and root causes of migration in sending countries.

The Latino Policy Forum and allies across the State of Illinois and the country will continue to push for humane policies that recognize the gifts and contributions made to our society by our immigrant sisters and brothers. For more information and updates on the future of DACA, please click here to visit the Forum’s Impacto page.

Gov. Rauner signs TRUST Act

For Immediate Release
Monday, August 28, 2017

Elizabeth Tomev

Gov. Rauner signs TRUST Act

New law will help law enforcement focus on reducing crime

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2017) – Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 31 – the TRUST Act – which will continue Illinois’ history of welcoming immigrants and help law enforcement focus on stopping violent crime and protecting Illinois residents.

“Illinois has been welcoming of immigrants for a long time, and this bill will continue that tradition,” Gov. Rauner said. “It also makes clear that stopping violent crime will be law enforcement’s mission rather than working on federal prerogatives that a federal court has found illegal.”

The Northern District of Illinois federal court has found that immigration detainer orders from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are illegal. SB 31 reinforces that court ruling. Furthermore, under the TRUST Act, law enforcement shall not stop, arrest, search, detain or continue to detain a person solely due to immigration status. Instead, detainment will require a warrant issued by a judge. The new law will improve connectivity between immigrants and law enforcement, making Illinois safer for all residents.

“It breaks my heart to see the senseless violence going on in our streets, especially when that violence is inflicted on innocent children,” Gov. Rauner said. “We need to prioritize our resources for the prevention of violent crime.”

The TRUST Act makes clear that Illinois will be a good partner with the federal government, and law enforcement will continue communicating with federal immigration and law enforcement officials.

“The Illinois TRUST Act brings us a step forward in the right direction to ensure that all Illinois residents are treated equally and with human dignity by the federal government,” said state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero), who was a chief co-sponsor of the bill.

“Immigrants in our community should not have to feel unsafe when they go to work or take their children to school,” said state Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Hillside), who was the primary sponsor of the bill in the House. “This legislation will ensure that proper legal procedures are being followed and provide peace of mind to members of our community.”

SB 31 was the result of compromise and negotiations. It is supported by law enforcement, including the Illinois State Police, and immigration groups.

“The TRUST Act does not prohibit state and local law enforcement from working with federal law enforcement, and it does nothing to change law enforcement’s ability to arrest and detain individuals who commit criminal acts and hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz said. “No person should fear the police, and everyone in Illinois should feel welcome and safe to contact the police for safety.”


VICTORY: Governor Rauner to Sign TRUST!

Governor Rauner will sign the Illinois TRUST Act (SB 31) next Monday, August 28th!

The TRUST Act is now the national gold standard as it is the strongest statewide deportation protection policy in the country. The TRUST Act  will:

  • Provide critical protection from deportation for Illinois residents by preventing local police from stopping, searching, or arresting anyone based solely on that person’s immigration status;
  • Uphold basic requirements under our Bill of Rights by requiring a warrant issued by a judge before anyone can be arrested and jailed for immigration purposes;
  • Ensure that local residents can interact with police without fear that they will end up in deportation proceedings
This historic victory is due to the incredible work of 85+ member organizations from throughout Illinois through the Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois. Together we have demonstrated what we can achieve when we come together in struggle for justice.
Check out recent TRUST Act Media hits here: 

ICIRR’s Statement: VICTORY: Governor Rauner will sign the Illinois TRUST Act on August 28!
ABC7: Governor Expected to sign Bill Protecting Undocumented Victims of and Witnesses to Crime
Telemundo: Gobernador Rauner firmará el “Trust Act”
The Atlantic: Don’t Call Illinois a ‘Sanctuary State’

Want to support this work to help up build power and win more victories for immigrants and refugees?
Here are three ways you can help!

1) Sign up to get involved, and help us win more: Click here for ICIRR’s Rise Up page!
2) Become an ICIRR Change Maker, our new individual membership program: Click here to become an ICIRR Change Maker!
3) Attend or support our Fundraiser Gala on September 7th!: Click here for information on ICIRR’s Gala!

Thank you for all that you do to support Immigrants and Refugees in Illinois!

Arpaio Pardon Tells Bigots They Have a Friend in the White House

Forum Statement on Joe Arpaio

President Trump’s Pardon Tells Bigots They Have a Friend in the White House!

CHICAGO – The Latino Policy Forum condemns President Donald Trump’s unusual pardoning of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose history of racial profiling, bigotry and defiance of federal laws led to his conviction of criminal contempt by a federal court judge last month.

According to the Washington Post, federal officials under President George W. Bush started investigating the Arpaio’s office in 2008 for potential civil rights violations. The investigation continued under President Obama and, in 2011, the Justice Department concluded Arpaio had engaged in systemic racial profiling of Latinos. The conclusion led to the Department of Homeland Security removing immigration-enforcement authority from Arpaio’s agency.

Last July, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court, stemming from a 2007 racial-profiling case in which Latinos were being discriminated against at traffic stops,” Forum Executive Director Sylvia Puente said. “A federal judge ordered Arpaio to stop to stop detaining people solely because they were Latino and suspected of being undocumented. Arpaio responded by publicly thumbing his nose at the order and vowing to continue as his reputation began growing nationally.”

“What we’re left with is a former sheriff and a sitting president who tout the rule of law while flagrantly violating the notion by overruling a judicial decision that clearly articulated the sheriff’s contempt and blatant disregard for our process of government,” Puente said. “The president has sided with an unrepentant racist and once again lifted his supporters above the law.”

“Joe Arpaio has bragged about being ‘America’s toughest sheriff,’ but in reality he’s a disgrace to the men and women who wear a police uniform and the list of reasons is too long to include here,” Puente said. “However, some of the lowlights involve his time as sheriff of the Phoenix area, when Arpaio kept immigrants in medieval conditions in a tent city referred to as a ‘concentration camp,’ where inmates were forced to work on chain gangs and publicly humiliated by being forced to wear pink underwear. He had jail cameras that showed female inmates using the toilet accessible on the Internet. A troubling number of inmates were brutalized under his watch. All the meanwhile, Arpaio bragged about profiling Latinos with his immigrant sweeps, and when reporters covered his antics he had them arrested.”

Arpaio’s wanton disregard for human rights and brutality of brown-skinned people has cost Maricopa County millions of taxpayer dollars in lawsuits. Puente added. “This pardon comes on the heels of Trump claiming to want to heal America’s wounds suffered from Charlottesville. However, with this action, the president has done nothing less than assure racists across the country that they have a friend in the White House,” Puente said.