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Illinois immigrant communities respond to Gov. Pritzker’s proposed budget

Earlier today, Governor JB Pritzker gave his annual state budget address. Immigrant community leaders in Illinois gathered at the Capitol to hear the Governor’s speech.

Lawrence Benito, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights issued the following statement:

“The state budget is a moral document that reflects the priorities of Illinois residents. Every year elected officials in Springfield have an opportunity to address inequities caused by long term disinvestment in already vulnerable communities.

“Over the course of decades, immigrants in Illinois have fought for and won appropriations for essential services that have made our state one of the most welcoming in the entire country. Because of our members’ on-the-ground experience working with vulnerable communities who are already excluded from many federal programs, we know what state resources are needed so that inequities can be addressed locally and our communities can thrive in Illinois.

“While the proposed funding for essential immigrant services in Governor Pritzker’s FY 2024 budget is a step in the right direction, we are committed to ensuring that at least $53 million is allocated to the Immigrant Services Line Item by the time the final budget is passed this session. Funding at $53 million will ensure that immigrant-serving community organizations across Illinois can continue to provide essential support to Illinois’ most vulnerable immigrant populations. These supports include direct cash assistance for immigrant families recovering from the pandemic; support for asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Latin America; citizenship and DACA application fee waiver assistance; interpretation and translation services in 59 languages; and other supports.

“In addition to at least $53 million for the Immigrant Services Line Item, ICIRR members and our coalition partners are committed to ensuring that a state Child Tax Credit and healthcare for all Illinoisans regardless of immigration status are included in the final budget.

“Our members will be organizing in their communities and will be traveling to Springfield throughout the session to meet with legislators and the Governor’s office to secure their commitments for pro-immigrant appropriations in this year’s budget. Passing a budget that includes these essential services and pro-immigrant policies will ensure that Illinois remains one of the most welcoming states in the entire country.

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