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Illinois immigrant leaders react to President Biden’s 2023 State of the Union

On Tuesday night, President Biden gave his State of the Union address. Immigrant leaders and community members in Illinois provided reactions to the President’s speech:

“As communities across Illinois have received asylum seekers in their communities, we see everyday the need for President Biden to reaffirm and strengthen the asylum process,” said Jose Vera, Executive Director of Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project. “SSIP and other ICIRR members have been working with migrants arriving in Illinois, and we needed to hear more from the President about asylum, especially when his actions have made it more difficult for those seeking refuge from violence and dangerous conditions. Our communities reject the President’s emphasis on harmful border enforcement that turns away people fleeing desperate conditions in their home countries and seeking safety here. We need to hear more about how President Biden plans to counter MAGA-led efforts to even further damage the asylum system, and how he will ensure that federal resources will make their way to cities and states that support asylum seekers.”

“HANA Center and ICIRR believe in family unity and full citizenship for all, and that all people, regardless of immigration status, deserve dignity and respect,” said Yebin An, a UIC college student leader with HANA Center and a DACA recipient. “I want to complete my degree in public health, and for my entire family to be able to thrive. But with the DACA program at constant risk of being struck down, and my parents facing the need to work into old age without any relief, I fear for both my future and my parents’ future. President Biden must take robust executive action to protect our undocumented community, with or without DACA, in order to create more equitable conditions for all. Regardless of national politics, HANA Center and ICIRR will continue organizing locally because true protection is found in the safety and abundance of our community.”

“Just like his first two years in office, President Biden’s State of the Union address left immigrant communities demanding more in the face of continued inaction,” said Lawrence Benito, executive director of ICIRR. “A divided Congress is not a reason for cutting deals with anti-immigrant MAGA Republicans in the name of getting something, anything done. The vision laid out by Illinois’ own Rep. Delia Ramirez in the Working Families Party response, a vision of family unity, dignity, respect, and pathways to full citizenship, should guide immigrant advocates in Congress as a whole. Ending Title 42, using executive action to prevent deportation, and preserving asylum must be immediate priorities of President Biden and his administration.”

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