clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Afternoon Edition: Sept. 25, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Diana Garcia Hernandez, 24, of Cicero, poses for a portrait outside her home on Wednesday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

Happy Friday! The weekend kicks off with another beautiful afternoon: sunny with a high near 80 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 63 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high near 85 degrees, and Sunday will be cloudy with a high near 78 and a slight chance of showers.

Top story

Immigrants rush to submit citizenship applications days before fee is set to soar

After using her savings to pay for rent and groceries during the coronavirus pandemic, Diana Garcia Hernandez found herself again dipping into her stash to cover the cost of application to become a U.S. citizen.

“I think earlier, it was just life getting the best of me,” said Garcia Hernandez, a single mother of two. “Sometimes you don’t have that extra money to spare.”

But Garcia Hernandez, 24, of Cicero, knew if she didn’t start the process to become a citizen this month, she would face an application fee that is set to rise from $640 to $1,160 — an 81% increase — on Oct. 2 as part of fee changes at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The details of the changes were made public July 31.

Now, she is among those in the Chicago area scrambling to submit immigration applications before the government makes the price switch. The increase in demand comes as naturalization applications already faced a backlog, some caused by coronavirus shutdown-related delays. A nonprofit, Immigrant Like Us, recently was created to help immigrants navigate applications.

“I couldn’t believe how much the fees were increasing,” Garcia Hernandez said. “It put me in the high gear to get everything ready to apply before the deadline.”

USCIS estimates the agency, which receives its revenue through the fees, would be underfunded by about $1 billion per year if the amounts stayed the same, according to a news release. The changes are also meant to “detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners and beneficiaries,” the agency said.

Jims Porter, a spokesperson for RefugeeOne, said he believes the new fees add up to a wealth test for immigrants. “It’s putting citizenship out of reach for millions of low-income refugees and immigrants,” he said.

Garcia Hernandez, who submitted her application for citizenship this week, said she always wanted to become a citizen so she could vote. She came to the country when she was about 4 years old from Mexico.

Her brother also wants to apply to become a citizen, but she wasn’t sure if he’ll be able to come up with the money before the deadline. His hours were cut at his job and finances have been stretched thin, she said.

“To raise [the fee] over 80% during a pandemic, it’s ridiculous,” she said. “They are just stripping away what could have been the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Read Elvia Malagón’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. President Trump said he will announce his Supreme Court nominee tomorrow, and after serving only three years as a federal judge on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, his top choice for the seat appears to be Amy Coney Barrett. Here’s how she went from Notre Dame law professor to Supreme Court frontrunner.
  2. The Antioch teenager charged with two fatal shootings in Kenosha last month plans to challenge extradition to Wisconsin. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, attended an online hearing today from the Lake County juvenile detention center.
  3. The Pritzker administration has found itself embroiled in a controversy involving its graduated income tax proposal after Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton’s public threat of a potential 20% tax increase. Stratton said if voters reject Illinois’ graduated income tax proposal, then the Legislature will be compelled to consider a 20% increase for all taxpayers.
  4. Mayor Lori Lightfoot was accused today of “hijacking” the city’s access to electronic billboards for public service announcements to make a “political statement” to remember Breonna Taylor. Under fire from aldermen, the mayor’s office defended the decision to use 32 electronic billboards to display “#SayHerName” in between paid advertising.
  5. The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board endorsed Kim Foxx for state’s attorney today, saying that while she’s made mistakes in the Jussie Smollett case, she’s made a lot of progress while in office, too. “The Cook County state’s attorney’s office cannot, must not, go back to its old ways,” the ed board writes.

A bright one

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’: From an infamous event, Aaron Sorkin makes an instant classic

In 1969, no other trial garnered more coverage in local newspapers than that of the infamous “Chicago Seven.” Every twist and turn in the courtroom guaranteed a front-page story. Now, it’s getting the big-screen treatment.

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” the latest Netflix film by Aaron Sorkin, hits theaters Sept. 24 for a limited run before landing on the streaming service on Oct. 16. Our film critic, Richard Roeper, gave it a rave review, calling it an “instant classic.”

Chicago Seven activist Jerry Rubin puts on a wig during a press conference for the conspiracy trail in Chicago, Oct. 17, 1969.
Bob Kotalik/Chicago Sun-Times

The film, starring Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Frank Langella, dramatizes the events of the trial — but the original, real-time reporting from the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun-Times captured all of the emotions in black and white as the story unfolded. We republished some of those stories online so you can do a deep dive before you watch.

For the uninitiated, the trial centered around the eight (later seven) defendants — Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner— who were accused of conspiring to incite a riot and crossing state lines to do so during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Read the stories from our archives here.

And read Richard Roeper’s review, including the trailer for the Netflix movie, here.

From the press box

The Falcons might be 0-2, but they still have the NFL’s fifth-best scoring offense. The Bears defense will have to step it up when the teams play in Atlanta on Sunday (noon, Fox-32).

The White Sox and Cubs are both slumping as they wrap up the regular season this weekend with the Crosstown Classic at Guaranteed Rate Field. Despite the losing streak, Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel still has confidence in his team. All three games will be broadcast on Marquee Sports Network and NBC Sports Chicago.

The White Sox announced that Sox Fest 2021 is the latest event canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bulls guard Zach LaVine hopes new coach Billy Donovan will let him open up his game, writes Joe Cowley.

The Red Stars will play Washington tomorrow (noon, CBS-2), and the Fire faces Atlanta United at Soldier Field on Sunday (6:30 p.m., WGN-9).

Your daily question ☕

As we daydream about all the vacations that could have been, we want to know, what’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever visited? What made it so breathtaking?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: How does the coming winter look to you, and how will it be affected by the pandemic? Here’s what some of you said…

“I think it’s going to be a rough one, but that might keep people in and thus reducing the spread of COVID.” — Emilie Hansel

“The same as it has been. Persistent loneliness, just cold out.” — Jackie Waldhier

“I hope we get one or two big snow storms. I miss snow covered winters.” — Leo Nieves

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

Sign up here to get the Afternoon Edition in your inbox every day.