Pritzker signs protections for immigrant children

On Tuesday, July 23, Governor JB Pritzker signed two bills into law (HB836 and HB1553) that would protect immigrant children in Illinois. These bills were supported by the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) Coalition and sponsored by State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz. Justin Valas, Advancing Justice | Chicago’s Policy Director, spoke at the bill signing ceremony:
Today, we are excited to be among fellow Illinoisans welcoming these vital protections for immigrant youth and immigrant families into law. For well over 100 years, Asian Americans have seen the impact of immigration policy on our families and communities- From our Chinese immigrants detained on Angel Island under the Chinese Exclusion Act; To young Japanese Americans, and our Japanese immigrant families, surrounded by barbed wire under Executive Order 9066; We know the stories of our families caught up in an impossible immigration system, and the worries over what immigration enforcement could mean for our families and children. While we work to reunite families and end detention at the federal level, we know that there’s so much that states can do to protect immigrant families and communities. With these bills signed today, Illinois is once again showing its commitment to our immigrant youth, families, and communities. We are proud to have worked alongside legislators and community organizations, including our partners in the Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment Coalition to pass these important protections. Our communities speak with the weight and power of history when we say that these protections are important, they are the right thing to do.