Same-day voter registration, asset-building bills will help Illinois immigrants
CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—December 4, 2014. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) applauds the Illinois General Assembly for passing two bills during its fall veto session that will aid our state’s immigrants in participating in our civic and economic life.
The General Assembly approved an election reform bill sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon (SB 172) that, among other things, will enable voters to register and vote on Election Day. This provision will specifically benefit newly naturalized citizens who want to vote but who may not be scheduled to be sworn in as citizens until after the registration deadline passes. ICIRR participated in the Just Vote coalition that developed and moved this important bill, which now awaits the governor’s signature.
The General Assembly also approved the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program bill sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss (SB 2758). This legislation will enroll working families without employer sponsored retirement accounts, including many immigrant families, into IRA-like accounts. These accounts will enable working families to save their earnings, building an asset base that will help ensure their future financial stability. This bill also awaits the governor’s approval.
ICIRR had hoped that the General Assembly would pass state minimum wage legislation; we are nevertheless pleased that the Chicago City Council approved a city minimum wage bill that should help many working immigrant families. ICIRR had also hoped for a resolution of the overall state budget shortfall, which threatens many key immigrant service programs and immigrant serving organizations. In the coming months ICIRR will work to protect funding for the Immigrant Services Line Item, which helps immigrants move toward self-sufficiency and greater civic participation and sustains community-based organizations that are trusted service hubs for immigrant families.
“We look forward to working with the leaders and members of the General Assembly from both parties, as well as the current and incoming governor, to address these and many other issues that are vital to our state’s immigrant families and communities,” said ICIRR chief executive officer Lawrence Benito.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visitwww.icirr.org.