Immigrant and Refugee Leaders and Allies Denounce Trump Administration’s Executive Actions on Immigration

CHICAGO – January 25, 2016 – Today, President Trump signed two executive actions purporting to strengthen border security and immigration enforcement, including building further border barriers and stripping funding from municipalities that have “sanctuary” or “welcoming” ordinances in place. “Enhanced border enforcement will not address the issues within our broken immigration system,” said Lawrence Benito, chief executive officer of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). “Migration from Mexico has been net zero for the past several years, and the Border Patrol is already the largest law enforcement agency in the country. Additionally, federal courts have already and consistently ruled that under our Constitution, cities can refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement, and the federal government to withhold funds from local municipalities to force them to collaborate. If Trump follows through on this threat, he will see us in court.”

“President Trump clearly does not understand how resilient immigrant communities are,” said Van Huynh with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago. “We will continue pushing for strong Welcoming Ordinances throughout Illinois.  Oak Park’s village board is set to vote on a “Welcoming Village Ordinance” in the coming weeks. These efforts have been led by grassroots leaders in and around Oak Park through the West Suburban Action Project (PASO). “Our local leaders will continue to push to win this ordinance,” said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, executive director of PASO and board president of ICIRR. “PASO and ICIRR call on all municipalities to advance welcoming policies locally, and on the Illinois General Assembly to advance statewide policies that make Illinois welcoming to all in response to this federal attack.”

Organizing to defend immigrant and refugee rights coursed across the nation on January 14, when ICIRR organized an immigration rally in Chicago attended by 1200 residents in conjunction with nearly 60 other immigration rallies nationwide. The rally introduced a coalition platform supported by immigrant and refugee groups as well as unions and faith groups. The Platform for Unity, Resistance, and Respect includes clear demands from the community supporting welcoming policies. “We have created a  toolkit for local municipalities to advance welcoming ordinances locally,” said ICIRR’s senior policy counsel Fred Tsao. “We urge anyone interested to contact us for technical support around these efforts.”

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The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit