Open Letter from ICIRR to US Senators Durbin and Duckworth

March 20, 2018

Dear Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth:

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, representing thousands of immigrants and allies throughout the state of Illinois, have long advocated for legalization of undocumented immigrants and in particular for undocumented youth, and against increased immigration enforcement and other policies that separate our families and terrify our communities.  It is in this context that we express our deep disappointment with your votes last month in support of the Senate proposal (SA 1958) that would couple the provisions of the DREAM Act with $25 billion in spending for the border wall and other border measures and cuts to family-based immigration. We believe that this proposal went too far in accepting harmful policies as the price for legalizing immigrant youth.

As you consider omnibus spending legislation during this week, we urge you to stand by the following principles:


  • All immigrants regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, disability, religion, ethnicity, or criminal background
  • The right to migrate, to live and work with dignity and without fear
  • Policies that promote due process, fair hearings, and opportunities for meaningful access to justice
  • Policies that provide opportunities to obtain legal status and legal protection for immigrants

Stand In Solidarity against the criminalization, incarceration, and marginalization of Black and Indigenous communities, against any and all harm caused by ICE officers toward any individual who is in detention, and for ensuring protection of the well being of all individuals in detention or deportation proceedings


  • The criminalization, incarceration, and surveillance of communities of color
  • Legislative or policy efforts that, even when combined with positive reforms, further criminalize, cause harm,  create additional barriers, or increase enforcement or detention
  • Allocation of funds to expand detention, hire additional immigration law enforcement officials, or build border walls

Specifically, we ask you to reject bills or policies that in any way reduce or eliminate family based visas or family unity; fund increased enforcement; increase detention; reduce protections for immigrant families; or expand funding for agencies that cause harm, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In the coming weeks we will be organizing a town hall on immigration issues to discuss what has happened in Congress over the past few months, and how we should move forward.  We invite you to join us for this event and will follow up with you with further details. We will also be reaching out to tens of thousands of immigrant voters throughout the state to register and vote in the upcoming midterm elections.   

Thank you for your consideration of the voices of immigrants in Illinois.

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights