After celebrating recent immigration reform advocates warn about fraud

pieChart_jpg (1)By Rachel White

President Barack Obama’s executive action to remove the threat of deportation from about 5 million undocumented immigrants was greeted with celebration by immigrant communities across the country and in Chicago. But now immigration advocates are worried about something else: fraud.

Immigrant advocates are concerned that undocumented immigrants eager to take advantage of Obama’s new policy will fall prey to scam artists who are looking for easy targets. In Hispanic neighborhoods such individuals offer their services as “notarios,” people who are authorized to perform some legal functions, including drawing up contracts or certifying contracts, deeds or other documents.

Continue reading “After celebrating recent immigration reform advocates warn about fraud”

Obama’s announcement expected to have heavy impact in Illinois

Data: The Migration Policy Institute
Data: The Migration Policy Institute

By Rachel White

If Raul Montes Jr. had his way, President Obama would have already used his executive powers to enact comprehensive immigration reform. He was anticipating, however, that the president would do that Thursday night, and would thereby help an estimated 5.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

Montes is a Chicago community activist and candidate for alderman in the 22nd Ward. He was born and raised in the community he hopes to represent after the February election.

Continue reading “Obama’s announcement expected to have heavy impact in Illinois”

Immigration reform further divides President Obama and Congress

By Rachel White

The majority of Latinos still vote Democratically, however there has been a significant decrease in Latino Democratic voters since 2010.
The majority of Latinos still vote Democratically, however there has been a significant decrease in Latino Democratic voters since 2010.

President Barack Obama and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agree on one thing: No legislation will be passed by 2016 without bipartisan compromise.

But on Wednesday, just one day after the midterm elections that gave Senate control to the GOP come January, President Obama furthered the divide between Republicans and Democrats in Washington by renewing the vow he made in September to reform immigration policy by the end of the year, by executive action if necessary.

Obama said in a news conference Wednesday he is still committed to working toward making life better for undocumented immigrants by decreasing deportations, granting work permits and improving border security.

Continue reading “Immigration reform further divides President Obama and Congress”

Durbin defeats Oberweis to keep Senate seat

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) gives a victory speech to a room full of his supporters Tuesday evening after defeating Republican Jim Oberweis.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) gives a victory speech to a room full of his supporters Tuesday evening after defeating Republican Jim Oberweis.

By Rachel White

Long-time U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has secured his seat in Congress for six more years. In his fourth consecutive win, he defeated Republican Jim Oberweis Tuesday.

At 11:30 p.m. Durbin led with 53 percent to Oberweis’s 43%.

Durbin said when Oberweis, the local dairy mogul, called him to congratulate him, he told the Illinois state senator that he would “start eating Oberweis ice cream.”

Andrea Simone, who starred in one of Durbin’s campaign ads, was first to speak at the senator’s reception in the packed Westin Chicago River North ballroom.

Continue reading “Durbin defeats Oberweis to keep Senate seat”

Early voting numbers reach record high for Cook County midterms

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Raise Illinois members came together Thursday in front of the Chicago Board of Elections to call for an increase in the minimum wage.

By Rachel White

Illinois early voting numbers are at a record high for midterm elections in Cook County and some community organizations believe the surge in voter turnout is largely a result of the proposed minimum wage increase on the ballot.

“Lots of people vote in presidential election years but stay home for midterm elections,” said DeJaun Jackson, a lead organizer for Chicago Votes.

Chicago Votes is dedicated to engaging young voters in the democratic process. The group lobbied in Springfield to pass legislation that allowed people to register to vote and cast their ballot in the same day during early voting.

Continue reading “Early voting numbers reach record high for Cook County midterms”

Emanuel to appropriate more money to fix more potholes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announcing his new plan to alleviate Chicago's pothole problem.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announcing his new plan to alleviate Chicago’s pothole problem.

By Rachel White

Mayor Rahm Emanuel understands that many Chicago residents are angry with the number of potholes leftover from last winter, and that could have consequences for his political future. He spent part of his day Thursday shaking hands with crewmembers from the Chicago Department of Transportation who were filling in potholes on the city’s Northwest Side.

The mayor also announced a plan to nearly double the average number of miles in Chicago that are repaved annually. He made the announcement at a ceremony to christen a newly paved stretch of Fullerton Avenue. His plan will ensure that Chicago residents no longer have to “slow down to a snail’s pace because of potholes,” Emanuel said.

Continue reading “Emanuel to appropriate more money to fix more potholes”

ICIRR holds forum on problems for undocumented immigrants’ driver’s licenses

By Rachel White

Virginia Chavez holds her temporary visitor's driver's license at a community forum hosted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Virginia Chavez holds her temporary visitor’s driver’s license at a community forum hosted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Virginia Chavez has lived in Chicago for 18 years and was one of the many undocumented residents of Illinois who used to fret every day on her commute from her first job to her second. Her biggest worry was being pulled over and not having a valid driver’s license to show.

“I’m very scared when I’m driving but I need to work and I need to take my kids to school,” Chavez said.

Now she has one less thing to worry about.

Continue reading “ICIRR holds forum on problems for undocumented immigrants’ driver’s licenses”

Chicago priest blesses stuffed animals collected for unaccompanied minors in New York

The Most Rev. John Manz blesses the donated stuffed animals at the Cardinal Meyer Center, South Lake Park Ave. Chicago
The Most Rev. John Manz blesses the donated stuffed animals at the Cardinal Meyer Center, South Lake Park Ave. Chicago

By Rachel White

More than 1,300 stuffed animals collected by the Archdiocese of Chicago were en route to New York state Thursday to be donated to children from Central America now living in the United States.

The Most Rev. John R. Manz blessed the stuffed animals Wednesday at the Cardinal Meyer Center on South Lake Park Ave. They will be delivered to the unaccompanied children who are being sheltered at the Children’s Village in New York.

“It’s obviously a symbolic gesture that we’re doing today,” the Rev. Manz said before blessing the stuffed animals. “I think … these gifts will touch the lives of many children as a sign of affection.”

The children are among the estimated 50,000 unaccompanied minors who crossed the southern U.S. border illegally this year.

Continue reading “Chicago priest blesses stuffed animals collected for unaccompanied minors in New York”

Chicago immigrant rights organization considers boycotting Nov. elections

By Rachel White

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Members of the Alliance for Immigrant Rights called on Latino voters to boycott the November elections to send a message to President Obama. They held a press conference in Chicago Wednesday, led by Carlos Arango (l) and Guillermo Gomez (r).

A Chicago Hispanic group is calling for Latino voters to consider boycotting the November elections.

On the same day President Obama was scheduled to arrive in Chicago, the Alliance for Immigrant Rights held a press conference denouncing his decision to delay immigration reform until after the November elections. Continue reading “Chicago immigrant rights organization considers boycotting Nov. elections”