Immigrant and Refugee Leaders Unite with National Movement to Protect Vulnerable Communities

January 14, 2017
Sophie Vodvarka
Communications Coordinator
svodvarka@icirr.org
(773) 294-4909

Leaders unveil “Platform for Resistance, Unity, and Respect,” call on elected officials to protect all vulnerable communities ahead of Trump Administration

(CHICAGO, IL—January 14, 2017)  Today more than 1,200 immigrant, refugee, labor, faith, and community leaders called on local, state and federal elected officials to uphold the basic human rights of all people in the United States regardless of immigration status, ethnic group, or religion.  These leaders unveiled a “Platform of Resistance, Unity, and Respect” ahead of next week’s inauguration of Donald Trump, who throughout his presidential campaign voiced his anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, and xenophobic agenda.

“During this crucial period of transition our communities are standing together stronger than ever,” said Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the lead organizing member organization.  “Our diverse allies will continue to protect this country’s immigrant and refugee family and strengthen resistance to mass deportations, hate crimes, criminalization and intolerance.”

Trump has already announced his intentions to attack immigrants and Muslims. For instance, he said he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects 740,000 immigrant youths and provides a level of economic stability and peace of mind to their families and communities.

The Platform demands that federal legislators support the “Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream of Growing Our Economy” (BRIDGE) Act, co-sponsored by Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin and US Representative Luis Gutierrez, which would allow DACA-eligible youths to remain and work in the United States without fear of deportation.  Additional federal demands include opposing a Muslim registry, standing against mass deportations that destroy families, supporting the right to unionize, and  passing a living wage for all workers. 

On the state level the Platform advocates for banning private detention centers, defending Medicaid programs, and passing statewide policies that limit collaboration between federal immigration authorities and police agencies.  On the local and municipal level, the Platform calls for institutions to provide sanctuary to anyone seeking it, for school districts to end over-policing on campuses, and for local municipalities to create or strengthen “welcoming” ordinances.          

The Platform declares that together, all member organizations and rally attendees will stand strong and will not give into fear: “Together we say no to deportations, no to a Muslim registry, and no to any tactics that attempt to divide and criminalize our communities. We have and will continue to resist anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies, and demand that our elected officials resist as forcefully as we do.”             

The rally included speakers from the following grassroots community groups: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, SEIU HCII, Interfaith Leadership Project, Southwest Organizing Project, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, Access Living, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, West Suburban Action Project (PASO), South Suburban Immigrant Project, United Food and Commercial Workers, Syrian Community Network, and Mujeres Latinas en Accion.

This event is part of a series of national mobilizations led by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) taking place on January 14 in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Houston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and over 50 other cities across the country. ICIRR is a member of the FIRM network. 

To learn more and get involved visit ICIRR's Calls for Action page. 

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.

MORE INFORMATION: Today’s rally was supported by several elected officials, including US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) State Representative Will Guzzardi, (D-Chicago 39th district) Commissioner Jesus (Chuy) Garcia, Irish Senator Billy Lawless, former Governor Pat Quinn (D-IL) and representatives from US Representative Mike Quigley’s (D-IL) office.