Protestors Push for Immigration Reform

Immigration reform is an ongoing issue in the United States. More than 1,100 immigrants are deported daily.

Montezz Allen interviews various protestors in the midst of their rally outside of the Chicago headquarters of immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Immigration Issues Affecting the Ghanaian Community in Uptown, Chicago.

By: Nana Aduba-Amoah

For my final project I wanted to write an article focusing on how immigration issues have affected ethnic groups that aren’t always highlighted in the media.  According to this article by the Chicago Tribune, during the 1990s, the number of African immigrants in Chicago increased to what is now about 42,300, and Chicago now bears the fifth-largest African population. Most of the city’s African immigrant population is situated on the north side of Chicago, in areas like Uptown and Edgewater. Some East African refugees also live in these neighborhood because of its proximity to social service agencies. Uptown Chicago now bears a huge Ghanaian community, and is home to those Ghanaians who came to the United States as first-family immigrants, and have remained undocumented citizens trying to fight the complex immigration system put into place.

This article highlights the economic issues faced by African and Hispanic immigrants who are working hard to build their futures. The new immigration reform legislation could help expedite the process, 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. Most importantly, it could help support the increasing number of immigrants coming to the “land of the free” to bask in the American dream that they’ve traveled across seas and borders for.

Undocumented Immigrants & Drivers License

Illinois is ramping up to grant driver license to undocumented immigrants in December. Of course with new laws comes new problems, fraud is always a huge factor when something new is introduced. Basic qualifications are proof of Illinois residency for at least one year and proof of ineligibility of a social security card. Drivers take vision, written, and road tests as all driver licenses applicants must pass in order to be granted driving privileges in the state.

My final project will report on two or more families with undocumented relatives that can take advantage of the new law without being in fear of deportation. In past years when undocumented immigrants were involved in accidents they would leave the scene before filing a police report. Information will not be shared with immigration officials.


Downtown Islamic Center Speaks On The New Immigration Laws, Reform

-By Montezz Allen

Starting December 2013, undocumented immigrants will be allowed to legally drive in the state of Illinois.

How did this come about?

Secretary of State Jessie White’s office said that Illinois will be issuing a temporary visitor’s license. The cost will be 30 dollars and it’ll help more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants in the state to operate a motor vehicle, legally, without any trouble.

With that said, my responsibility for our group’s final project will be to produce video. I plan on visualizing the way those of other countries feel about this specific law. Also, how it’ll impact family, friends, loved ones, etc.

Furthermore, I plan on contacting the Downtown Islamic Center as a source. I’ll try my best to interview leaders and other members of the mosque about this law. Another source I intend on contacting is a professor at DePaul’s who’s credible and can speak on this topic.

Although I plan on asking for their position on the new law issued by Secretary of State, I also will bring up immigration reform because not only is it an issue in the state of Illinois; it’s an issue all around the world, too.

Final Proposal for Sal Barry

For my final report, I was initially considering creating an audio slideshow that would combine photographs that I took along with voice-over recordings — either narration from me or statements from the people pictured. However, a project like this really needs an event to serve as a news “hook.” While I really want to do this idea, I may have to resort to a different one.

So, I would then write a paper (within the 500-to-750 word range suggested by the professor) about how immigration reform would affect undocumented immigrants living in Chicago. I would attempt to talk with a blogger from ChicagoNow (owned by Tribune Media) who writes about Latino issues to try and gain some insight from someone who has focused on the topic of immigration reform.

I would also attempt to contact several organizations. One group I would contact is the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which is located in Chicago. I might also contact the National Immigrant Justice Center.

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.