New report details impact of budget cuts on Asian Americans

May 19, 2015

Steve Moon

New report details impact of budget cuts on Asian Americans

Community will head to Springfield on Thursday to rally against cuts

CHICAGO – A new report, Cutting Lifelines, released Tuesday by members of the Pan Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition, details the impact that budget cuts proposed by Governor Bruce Rauner would have on Asian Americans in Chicago. Programs that provide resources to limited English proficient residents, citizenship assistance, seek to eliminate the digital divide, and youth after school programs have been cut entirely, while senior care, child care, and hepatitis B treatment and outreach will face significant cuts.

“I have seen first-hand how difficult it can be for our community members to access critical services because of language barriers, and this is why I am so appalled by the elimination of these services in the Governor’s budget,” said Renuka Sharma of Indo American Center. “Zeroing out the Immigrant Services Line Item would eliminate funding for programs that provide information and assistance—including interpretation and translation services—to immigrant families as they work toward self-sufficiency.”

“For every dollar spent by the state of Illinois on the New Americans Initiative citizenship campaign, five dollars will go back to the state in the form of tax dollars,” said Jimmy Reyes, community member with the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE). “So I ask Governor Rauner, why do you have to kill the hen that lays a golden egg for the state?”

“We are frightened to think of the impact that cutting senior programs will have on our elderly community, 4000 of whom are living in poverty in the state of Illinois,” said Yoontae Chong of Korean American Community Services. “Cuts to programs such as the Child Care Assistance Program will also threaten our ability to serve 150 youth across PAVE and other Asian serving organizations.”

“Our community will not be used as a political bargaining chip while our community’s health, safety, and wellness are at risk,” said Nayoung Ha, community organizer with Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC). “We expect our lawmakers to work together to develop a revenue solution that preserves these essential services, and we are committed to this fight not only as Asian Americans and immigrants, but in solidarity with other communities devastated by the Governor’s actions.”

Other statistics from Cutting Lifelines:

  • In the last 9 months, PAVE organizations have assisted in the completion of 1,196 SNAP applications, 604 All Kids applications, and 1,758 Medicaid applications through the Immigrant Family Resource Program.
  • Through the Community Care Program, PAVE organizations have logged 760,000 hours of service for 1,785 seniors.
  • In the first half of Fiscal Year 2015, PAVE organizations assisted in completion of 800 applications for citizenship
  • More than 180,000 foreign-born Asian American Illinois residents have yet to be naturalized, a potential financial boost for the state (individuals who naturalize see an 8% increase in earnings)
  • 29% of Asian Americans in Illinois age 5 and over are Limited English Proficient
  • 73% of Asian Americans in Illinois speak a language other than English at home
  • More than 20% of Asian American youth under age 18 live below the poverty line

Read and download the full report:

Over 400 Asian Americans will head to Springfield on Thursday to take part in the fourth annual Asian American Action Day, when community members go to the state capitol to meet with their legislators. This year, members of the PAVE coalition will also be calling on Governor Rauner to preserve service programs for communities across the state.

PAVE Coalition Members:

Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, Cambodian Association of Illinois (CAI), Chinese American Service League (CASL), Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA), Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC), Hamdard Center for Health and Human Services, Indo American Center (IAC), Japanese American Service Committee (JASC), Korean American Community Services (KACS), Korean American Women in Need (KANWIN), Lao American Community Services (LACS), Lao American Organization of Elgin (LAO-E), Muslim Women Resource Center (MWRC)