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 Samantha Abernethy/MEDILL

Ald. Danny Solis (25th) spoke passionately for immigration reform 


Chicago City Council urges immigration law overhaul

by Jen Thomas and Samantha Abernethy
Oct 08, 2008

 Samantha Abernethy/MEDILL

Ald. Manny Flores (1st) addressed the rally outside the City Council meeting Wednesday morning, alluding to America's heritage as a nation of immigrants.


Related Links

John McCain on immigrationBarack Obama on immigration

So where do the presidential candidates stand?

The City Council wants the presidential candidates to say where they stand on a moratorium on deportations. So what have they said recently?

With the election 27 days away, the issue of immigration has been largely absent from both candidates’ campaigns in recent weeks. An examination of the transcripts of the two presidential debates and the vice presidential debate reveals that the word “immigration” has not been spoken by the candidates from either party.

The topic also has not been discussed much on the campaign trail by the candidates recently, unless they were addressing a Hispanic organization or prompted by a question.
Both campaigns’ Web sites have a section dedicated to the issue of immigration. See the related link to read what they have posted.

--Samantha Abernethy

Chicago lawmakers added their voices Wednesday to the call for a moratorium on raids and deportations, an action they hope will lead to comprehensive immigration reform.

The City Council, backed by a crowd of cheering community members and immigrant advocates, unanimously passed a resolution urging candidates to state their position on immigration before the November election.

“We have people running for president who have been talking about every other issue except the fact that we have a broken immigration system. They haven’t mentioned it,” said Ald. Billy Ocasio (26th), one of the resolution’s most vocal proponents.

Nearly a dozen alderman rose in support of the resolution, calling the vote an act of common decency and humanity.

“Immigrants are being uprooted, they are being persecuted. They are losing their jobs, they are losing hope,” said Ald. George Cardenas (12th).

“All of you, all of us, have a responsibility to stand up to this injustice,” he said.

The “Ya Basta” Campaign, an initiative launched in August by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, called the resolution’s passage a successful first step in stopping the raids.

“I hope that families that are affected by this issue see a little ray of light today, but there’s a lot more to do,” said Marty Sanchez, president of Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and human rights activist.

“Ya Basta” means “Enough is enough” in Spanish.

“Families are not breathing a sigh of relief while there are still raids and deportation every day,” said Emma Lozano, president of immigrant advocacy group Pueblo Sin Fronteras. “This is torture. Families will breathe a sigh of relief when Congress and the president call for a moratorium, which is the first step to legalization.”

“We’re sending the message from Chicago, saying we’re not going to tolerate this,” she said.

Several aldermen criticized the federal government for failing to support immigrants  who have no criminal past and are contributing to their communities.

“There is something wrong with our nation when we send out immigration agents to snap handcuffs onto the wrists of hardworking people while thieves on Wall Street have put our country into the brink of a national calamity,” Ald. Edward Burke (14th said).

Ald. Manuel Flores (1st), in an impassioned speech, told the Council to do the right thing.

“It is time for us to fix a broken system right now, this immigration law that is hurting U.S. citizens. We should have the power to do that. We need to stand up,” he said.