Immigration Efforts in Illinois

According to Chicago Public Radio, Illinois democrats are pushing Obama for a new comprehensive immigration bill this year. Obama promised this in June and now seven Illinois congressmen are putting pressure on the president to follow through. These seven democrats are trying to lay a path to citizenship for the nation’s 12 million undocumented immigrants.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), states that one out of every eight Americans is an immigrant and that nearly one of every seven Illinoisans is an immigrant. In Chicago alone immigrants make up one in five residents. Mexico accounts for 40.9% of all Illinois immigrants while Poland ranks second with 10% of immigrants.

The immigrant population in the U.S. has doubled from 1990 to 2006 while the foreign-born population in Illinois alone is up 86% from 1990 to 2006. Also many recent immigrants are now moving directly to the suburbs rather than into the city of Chicago. Estimates say that 550,000 undocumented immigrants live in Illinois. This number is up 110,000 from the year 2000.

It was recently reported in the Chicago Tribune that two nuns from the Sisters of Mercy are focusing their efforts on assisting jailed immigrants in Chicagoland. The sisters support passage of a comprehensive immigration reform plan for legislation that would ‘fix a broken system’. They have supported immigration reform by marching at rallies, lobbying in Springfield and speaking at news conferences.

The sisters are an example to all of us. We should all be supportive of Immigration Reform. As evidenced by the numbers of immigrants in our nation it is foolish to ignore this issue. We all have a neighbor or a friend or a co-worker who is an immigrant.