ICIRR’s Statement of Governor Pritzker’s Grant of Clemency to Miguel Perez
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Applauds Governor Pritzker’s Decision to Grant Clemency to Deported Illinois Resident Miguel Perez
CHICAGO (August 31, 2019)—The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) applauds Governor JB Pritker’s grant of clemency to Miguel Perez, an Illinois resident who was deported in March of 2018. Perez, an Army Veteran, had been in the U.S. since the age of 8. After returning from service with post traumatic stress disorder, Perez was convicted of a non-violent drug offense. He served 7.5 years for this low-level conviction, and was then deported in March 2018. The pardon opens up new legal avenues for Perez to return home and become a naturalized citizen.
“Mr. Perez’s deportation highlights the issues within our overly punitive criminal justice system and broken immigration system,” said Lawrence Benito, ICIRR’s executive director. “Both systems criminalize, incarcerate, and exile people of color in our communities. We need to reimagine and reform both systems for a more equitable tomorrow. Today we celebrate the Governor’s decision to reject the notion that Mr. Perez’s country of birth justifies his exile from his home and family because he committed a low-level, trauma-induced crime. His country turned its back on him after he served and suffered from the scars of war. The Governor took a step to right this wrong. We hope that Mr. Perez will be able to return to Illinois and the country he proudly served."
ICIRR and its members across the state thank the Governor for taking another step to make Illinois more welcoming for all, and challenging the national white supremacist rhetoric and policies against all people of color in Illinois and the country.