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On Wednesday, February 16th, Governor Quinn presented a proposed state budget that cuts immigrant services by 74% over the budget two years ago, with a 56% cut proposed for next year alone. Refugee services are scheduled for a 69% cut next year. These cuts will directly hurt thousands of immigrant families across Illinois.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and Latino, Polish, Asian, African, and other immigrant groups across Illinois unite to:

Ask the State to correct this terrible mistake and restore immigrant services to FY ’10 levels. Send a fax here, and call the Governor’s office at 312-814-2121 (Chicago) or 217-782-0244 (Springfield).

The impact of 74% cuts in immigrant services:

47,052 fewer families will have access to basic services this year – as guaranteed to them by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This includes:

  • 6,462 more kids will go hungry this year, due to decreases in SNAP funding;
  • 17,490 fewer mothers will receive pre- and post-natal care, basic care that saves money and lives.
  • 3,998 fewer immigrants will become U.S. citizens through the New Americans Initiative. Naturalized immigrants speak English better, earn more, and pay more in taxes. The new taxes generated for Illinois by this program alone are estimated to be $34 million a year.

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"We don’t want your prayer.  We don’t want your letter," barked a Kirk campaign volunteer through a locked glass door of the Congressman’s Chicago campaign office.

Undeterred, Max Kuecker slid his letter – along with the testimony of a DREAM student who wants to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces – through the mail slot in the door.  The volunteer kicked the letter to the side.

Mr. Kuecker was one of a small, multi-ethnic group of Chicago-area Evangelical leaders who wanted to pray for their candidate for Senator, his campaign staff and their support for an issue their faith called them to: the DREAM Act.  The DREAM Act is a bill that would give undocumented kids – some brought here by their parents as babies –  the opportunity to earn a pathway to legal status by joining the military or completing at least 2 years of college.  Congressman Kirk declared opposition to this bill 10 days ago.

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At 3:45pm yesterday, three students walked into Mark Kirk's Chicago campaign office and asked to schedule a meeting with the man who wants to be their Senator.

The Congressman is against the DREAM Act, a bill that would give these students and thousands of others the chance to earn a path to legalization by attending college or joining the military.  The students thought that if the Congressman actually heard their stories, he might change his mind.

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Today at 1:05PM, Latino military veterans, business leaders, and DREAM students concluded a peaceful protest outside of Mark Kirk's Chicago campaign office and headed inside the office to deliver a letter to the Congressman's staff.  

But as they opened the door, a Kirk staffer violently slammed the door, locked it and rushed back into the office.  On his way in, the staffer dismissed the group with a middle finger salute.  The group included prominent Latino businessman and founder of Our Nation's Promise Juan Ochoa, who is also a Marine Corps Desert Storm Veteran.  

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