On April 22, three Republican Illinois congressmen gave support to an immigration reform bill including Rep. Aaron Schock, Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Rep. John Shimkus at an event hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC.) The immigration reform bill would create visa expansion for agricultural and other workers as well as provide a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, according to Rebecca Shi, director of the IBIC.Immigration reform is necessary to repair the economy, and restore communities, according to Artemio Arreola, political director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). “The deportations hurt our communities, hurt our families,” said. Arreola “The impact multiplies. Overall, four, five, six million families are affected by the deportation of two million people.”
Arreola said that he hopes the leadership listens to the congress members of Illinois so the vote on the bill can be scheduled before the session ends.“We need a clear path to citizenship for workers already here and a fair and efficient on-ramp for those who want to come here. We should never forget we are all a nation of immigrants,” said Rep. Aaron Schock, quoted in a press release.
The bill passed in the Senate last June, but the reform can only pass in the House with bipartisan support, Shi said. “We need all of our Democrats to support it and we need all of our Republican members of Congress to support it, especially in a moderate state like Illinois,” she added.
“These are tough issues and emotions run high on both sides of the debate. I’m hopeful the business and religious communities can be helpful in bringing both sides together to bring meaningful reform to our broken immigration system.” said Rep. Shimkus in a press release.