Chicago Congressmen Arrested in Immigration Reform Protest

By Nana Aduba-Amoah

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.arrested at immigration reform protest in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.arrested at an immigration reform protest in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Two Chicago-based Democrat Congress officials, Luis Gutierrez of Chicago and Jan Schakowsky of Evanston, were some of the nearly 200 people arrested in the immigration reform protests in Washington on Tuesday, October 8th.

The rally was organized to push forward ideas for immigration reform. Protesters pressed the house GOP leaders to examine the immigration reform bill that was already passed by Senate in June. The legislation promised more rights for undocumented immigrants such as visa programs, improved border security, and requirement for employers to track immigration status and help employees with their process.  This bill could grant citizenship to about 11 million undocumented immigrants, and give “dreamers” — or young, undocumented immigrants– the chance to earn their green card in about five years. However, none of that can be made possible unless the House GOP leaders formulate a vote in order to pass this legislation. Continue reading


Illegal Immigrant, Legal Driver


Undocumented immigrants will now be able to drive legally in Illinois (photo by Sal J. Barry)

By Sal J. Barry

Undocumented immigrants do not have many of the same rights and protections as citizens, but starting in December they will be able to legally drive a car in Illinois.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Jessie White’s office announced that Illinois will issue what they are calling “temporary visitor drivers licenses” (TVDL), making it possible for the estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state to legally operate a motor vehicle. Until now, only legal aliens could obtain a TVDL.

“Before the implementation of this law, individuals would have an automobile crash and they would leave the car and they would run,” White told the Chicago Tribune.  “Now they don’t have to run because now they can stand and say to the officer, tell their story of how the accident occurred, show their driver’s license, show their registration card.”

The new TVDL cards will not give undocumented immigrants all of the same privileges as a normal driver’s license, though. For example, it cannot be used as official identification for boarding a plane or purchasing a gun. Likewise, it does not give them the right to vote.

TVDLs will be distinguished by a purple stripe across the top — standard driver’s licenses bear a red stripe — as well as the phrase “NOT VALID FOR IDENTIFICATION” in uppercase red letters.


An Illinois driver’s license (left) and a TVDL. (Image taken from the ICIRR TVDL Fact Sheet PDF).

The $30-per-license fee is expected to generate $3 million annually. It will also allow undocumented immigrants, as legal drivers in Illinois, to purchase auto insurance. This would benefit other insured motorists in case of an accident.

According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), the new TVDL cards will also provide “a concrete solution to the problem of document fraud by drying up the black market for expensive fraudulent documents.” No longer will illegal immigrants need to rely on forged paperwork to obtain a license. Likewise, obtaining a TVDL legally would “prove that the person behind the wheel has been trained, tested, licensed and insured.” (Full article here.)

Obtaining a driver’s license does not solve the overarching problem of immigration reform in this country. But it does grant the estimated half-million people in Illinois the privilege to drive, allowing them to legally drive to work, take their kids to school, go grocery shopping, and do many of the other tasks necessary for living in this state.

Many Illinois Leaders Push for New Immigration Reform

-By Montezz Allen

Illinois’ economy needs to be repaired. It needs a boost.

As a result, there’s been a hard push for state delegations to overhaul new immigration reform by some of Illinois’ mayors.


Because they feel it’ll help the economy.

According to, more than 20 leaders in Illinois — all of whom are Democratic — recently inked a letter that said “new laws focusing on all immigrants, regardless of citizenship status, will create jobs and raise revenues.”

There’s a whopping 11 million illegal immigrants living in the US.

The push for the new immigration reform was led by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and, which is an advocacy organization created by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel   -photo by Nancy Stone

Illinois is already one of the most immigrant-friendly states in the US, but Emanuel wants to transform it into the most immigrant-friendly state in the world, if possible.

However, Illinois still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and it faces other important issues like gang violence and financial issues.

The new immigration law is said to help this problem.

This is a huge step in the right direction for Illinois and quite frankly, I applaud Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who’s been under extreme fire for his part in the Chicago school closings), as well as the other 21 leaders, for putting their best foot forward.

Immigration is a huge problem in this country, let alone the state of Illinois. It’s been an ongoing battle trying to figure out how the state will police immigrants while speeding up the process of helping them to become citizens.

If done correctly, Illinois’ economy will improve much faster!

Mayor Emmanuel Supports Immigration Reform

By Sal J. Barry


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel [City of Chicago website]

The recent government shutdown has stalled, among other things, immigration reform in the United States. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel supports immigration reform. “If you are pro-small business, you have to be pro-immigrant,” Emmanuel told the Chicago Tribune earlier this month, noting that half of Chicago’s recent businesses were started by immigrants.

Clearly, Emmanuel is thinking of his constituents here.  According to the 2010 U.S. Census, roughly 29% of Chicago’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino (778,862 out of 2,695,589 respondents). In a recent poll reported by the L.A. Times, 54% of Hispanics polled said that they were “less likely to support” a candidate who didn’t support an immigration reform bill.

A similar consensus is probable in Chicago, where most of the illegal immigrants are Hispanic. Mayor Emmanuel won the mayoral election with 55% of the vote. How he deals with immigration as it becomes more and more of a hot-button topic can have a great effect on his bid for re-election.

Government Shutdown Affects Immigration in Illinois

Photo by Tiffany Williams and Jennifer Doak

Photo by Tiffany Williams and Jennifer Doak

The government shutdown lasted for 16 days and as a result, it impacted many immigrants in Illinois and nationwide.

The shutdown disrupted the process of immigrants obtaining their citizenship. Because immigrants that seek citizenship have to go through a confusing process, which includes meeting a number of requirements, many of them feared deportation.

According to the USCIS , immigrants that seek citizenship in the United States must seek it through naturalization –  a process where “a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).”

Typically, more than 1,100 undocumented immigrants are deported daily, according ICE  (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

This is unacceptable. It’s selfish and it’s a testament of how the government can completely disregard a certain group without taking into consideration of their struggles.

People’s livelihoods are at stake and it’s frustrating for the one’s who have spent months and years trying to secure citizenship or asylum status.

This problem makes me question the politics of immigration issues in general.  Despite the abruptness of the government shutdown, immigration is still a complex issue that needs to be reformed and revisited.  After all, we all are immigrants in some way, shape or form and we shouldn’t make people suffer just because the process has been simplified for some of us.

Instead of deporting immigrants, we should consider deporting congress. How would they feel if they were in danger of being separated from their families, friends and communities that they’ve been accustomed to?

They definitely wouldn’t like it!