ICIRR Disappointed with Governor Rauner’s Veto of SB 2204

August 9, 2016

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Fred Tsao, 312 332-7360 x213

ICIRR Disappointed with Governor Rauner’s Veto of SB 2204

(Chicago--August 9, 2016) In response to Illinois Gov. Rauner’s veto on SB 2204, a bill that would have allowed non citizen students to run for student trustee at University of Illinois campuses, ICIRR has released the following statement:

On Friday, August 5, 2016, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed SB 2204, a bill that would have created a more inclusive environment for immigrant students at University of Illinois campuses. This bill was inspired by the experience of Mateo Uribe Rios, recent University of Illinois at Chicago graduate. On February 11, 2015, Mateo Uribe Rios discovered that he was disqualified from running for student trustee at his campus because he lacked a voter registration card, currently one of the three requirements needed to run for student trustee in the University of Illinois system. As the law currently stands, students who are not US citizens, including lawful permanent residents, refugees, and undocumented students, are not able to apply.

We are very disappointed with Gov. Rauner’s decision, which seems based on the incorrect premise that immigrant students are incapable of representing their student body. In his veto message, Rauner states

“The University of Illinois is a public institution supported by Illinois taxpayers, and therefore in-state student representation on its Board of Trustees should be a priority. Student trustees have the authority to influence decisions with lasting effects on the University and Illinois taxpayers, so it is therefore important to ensure that student trustees are residents of Illinois. Senate Bill 2204 goes too far in eroding the residency requirement.”

This message suggests that immigrants in Illinois do not pay taxes, a grave misconception. In fact, according to the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants alone pay for $11.64 billion in taxes each year on a national level, and $743 million in Illinois alone.

Equal opportunities for immigrant communities, especially at educational institutions, benefit our entire society.  It was this insight that led previous Illinois governors to approve in-state tuition for immigrant students in 2003 and the Illinois DREAM Act in 2011, and is also generating bipartisan support for the Student ACCESS Bill pending in the Illinois House.  We hope that Governor Rauner will similarly respect and honor the contributions and leadership of immigrant students in the future.  

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit www.icirr.org.



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