ICIRR 2024 Policy Platform
During the summer of 2023, ICIRR member organizations engaged over 700 grassroots leaders to determine our coalition's policy priorities for this year. ICIRR members ratified the policy platform and officially launched it at the annual ICIRR Summit in February 2024. Download our full 2024 policy platform here.
Join us in fighting for economic justice, healthcare access, and essential services for all communities in Illinois!
State Issues: Top Priorities
Funds for immigrant services in the state budget
The Immigrant Service Line Item (ISLI) provides funding for direct cash assistance to immigrants, citizenship application assistance, English classes, DACA and citizenship application fee waivers, and resource navigation for immigrants throughout Illinois.
The General Assembly has approved $38 million for ISLI during the past two years, so we are requesting a slight increase in funding for next year.
Funds for continued cash assistance for those who are ineligible for federal public assistance
Over the past three and a half years, the cash assistance portion of ISLI (known as the Immigrant Family Support Program) was funded via a mix of ARPA federal dollars and state General Revenue Funds.
The money will be fully spent by June 2024; the program is well established and is a valuable investment in immigrant communities. We should push for level funding of the program at $50 million (through ISLI) as a step toward a broader cash assistance program for all who need it beyond this fiscal year.
We have seen this past year that without expanded sources for state revenue, our ability to win programs that provide basic sustenance and economic justice for our communities (including several on this list) will remain limited.
We need permanent solutions that will generate more funding for the state so that all of our families will have the support they need to thrive. ICIRR is proposing a revenue package that would raise close to $3 billion in new revenue for the state.
Protect and expand healthcare for ALL in IL (led by Healthy Illinois)
Illinois has passed a series of laws that provide medical coverage for low-income immigrants age 42 or older and children age 18 and younger, regardless of their immigration status.
The Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) and Health Benefit for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) programs have now been limited due to concerns regarding their cost. We need to defend these programs against harmful restrictions, and continue to push to further expand coverage to include all other income-eligible immigrants regardless of their status.
Child Tax Credit for All Tax Filers (including ITIN) (led by Economic Security Project)
We and our allies in the Economic Security Illinois Coalition can build on our spring 2022 victory in expanding the state Earned Income Credit to reach immigrant households who file tax returns using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) and other excluded families.
The next phase would create a permanent state child tax credit, similar to the expanded federal credit created during the COVID emergency, for each low-income household–including ITIN filers, and a system for simplified tax filing to better enable households to claim the credits to which they are entitled.
State guaranteed income pilot (led by Economic Security Project)
ICIRR and our allies are supporting creation of a state-level guaranteed income pilot program. The program would provide monthly cash payments to mothers who are receiving Medicaid during their pregnancy and through the first year after birth under the Moms and Babies program.
Mothers would be eligible regardless of immigration status. We believe that this pilot could provide the basis for a broader permanent state-level guaranteed income program.
State Issues: Other Priorities
Education for All
The right to free public education hinges on a 1982 Supreme Court decision that some anti-immigrant advocates want to overturn. We need to guard against this possibility by writing into state law that every child in this state is entitled to free public education regardless of their own or their parents’ status.
Work beyond employment authorization
If DACA ends as a result of court rulings or action by a future federal administration, we need to make sure that people who have DACA will be able to continue to work, and that people who never had employment authorization are aware of the opportunities to work.
We plan to work with the Illinois Secretary of State and other agencies to promote models for work regardless of federal employment authorization, such as independent contracting and worker cooperatives. We are also following the Opportunity for All campaign in California (which argues that federal work authorization restrictions do not cover states) to see how we might replicate their efforts to arrange for the University of California and other state agencies to hire undocumented people.
Restrict data sharing (led by Mijente / Just Futures Law)
Even as many communities and states (including Illinois) have enacted policies limiting information sharing and other communication with ICE, ICE has still gained access to personal information from government agencies (such as the Illinois Secretary of State), utility companies, and other sources through third-party data brokers that buy this information and then sell access to ICE.
Limiting the ability of state and local agencies to share this information (as we did with the driver’s license bill we passed in spring 2023) will help protect everyone’s privacy and ensure that information for immigrants and other individuals will not be abused.
Criminal legal reform (led by Cook County and Lake County state’s attorney and public defender offices and NIJC)
Our criminal legal system still channels immigrants into the deportation pipeline despite several existing laws intended to protect them from removal. We are working with allies among public defender offices, progressive state’s attorneys, and other allies to identify, develop, and pass further fixes to state laws to further shield immigrants from potential deportation.
Legalization for all (CHIRLA, FIRM, and other allies)
While it is unlikely that Congress will approve any legalization program while control remains divided between the two political parties, we are still pushing for a broad, generous legalization program that provides a clear path to citizenship for all undocumented people.
We have joined the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and several of our allies among other state-level coalitions to push for legislation to amend the registry provision in the immigration laws, which allow immigrants who arrived before a certain date (currently January 1, 1972) to apply for green cards. The proposal would create a "rolling registry" that would enable immigrants to legalize after seven years in the US.
Hold ICE accountable
The Biden Administration has set forth priorities for who it will target for immigration enforcement: people with criminal convictions, people who post national security threats, recent border arrivals. We need to not only make sure that ICE is not pursuing people who fall outside those categories, but also using its broad discretion for people within those groups and considering the damage that deportations inflict on families and communities.
Defund ICE (Detention Watch Network)
The federal government spends $25 billion each year on immigration enforcement with little accountability from ICE or CBP but devastating impacts on our families and communities. The Defund Hate campaign seeks to reduce this funding and shift it to other programs and policies that respect and rebuild our communities and provide safety and care for immigrants seeking refuge or otherwise vulnerable to deportation. We would push target members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation to support these efforts.
A federal court has struck down both the Obama Administration’s original DACA program and the Biden Administration regulations that tried to write the program into law.
We need to make sure that DHS maintains protections for people who have or would be eligible for DACA and for others at risk of deportation, and ensure that people trying to renew will not see any gaps in their protection or work authorization due to DHS backlogs. We also need to continue to push Congress to pass legislation that will finally grant permanent legal status to everyone who has or qualifies for DACA and everyone else who remains vulnerable to deportation.
Executive Action: TPS, parole, work authorization
With Congress unable to pass legislation to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants or make other crucial fixes to our immigration system, executive action by President Biden and Homeland Security leadership has become that much more important.
Beyond defending DACA and protecting people at risk of losing DACA, Biden and DHS can do much more to shield people from deportation by extending Temporary Protected Status to people from more countries that are facing civil strife and repression, and redesignating countries that already have TPS (as it did with Venezuela) to cover more people.
Biden and DHS should also extend parole for people who have arrived at the southern border and enable these migrants to expeditiously receive work authorization, and use similar models for people who have already been in the US.
LIFT the Bar
Under the 1996 welfare laws, most immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid and other federal public benefits even after they have received their green cards. This five-year bar harms immigrant families who need health care and other support and hurts our entire community.
The LIFT the BAR and HEAL Acts would remove these restrictions and enable immigrants who are able to get green cards to receive the care they need.