During this season for giving thanks, immigrants in Illinois have good reason to be grateful to the Illinois Senate as we move closer to winning important protections for crime survivors. A bipartisan group of 40 senators voted last week to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Voices Act, a bill that makes it safer and easier for immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking or other abuses to come forward without adding the danger of deportation.
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The VOICES Act has the support of community organizations from across the state, as well as the Sun-Times Editorial Board. As a member of the Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois, and as the lead statewide coalition of domestic violence agencies in Illinois, we know that the Voices Act will eliminate hurdles for survivors to come forward, and will protect immigrant communities in our state.
While we are thankful for bipartisan support of Voices Act in the Senate, our work is not done. We now need the Illinois House to complete the veto override when members return to Springfield on the 27th.
We hope that the House takes this big step forward to make Illinois a truly welcoming state for all who seek to make their lives here. Rest assured, we will be at the Capitol with our allies next week to ensure that Voices becomes law.
Vickie M Smith, executive director,
Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence,
Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois Member
New leadership needed
It’s apparent that not all Democratic members of the U.S. House are tone deaf to what the voters told them in 2016. Illinois own Rep. Bill Foster is part of the charge to attract desperately needed new leadership in the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi embodies the out-of-touch face of the old regime and needs to go. In 2017, 42 percent of Americans identified as independent like me. If the DNC wants to sway our votes, then they need to start listening to members like Bill Foster, and say goodbye to the old guard.
However it’s not a lock. There is not even a declared candidate to oppose her. But most upsetting is when your writer states that she can “ … dangle choice committee assignments, rules changes and other goodies to help attract support.” You should vote for someone because you believe they are the person for the job, not for the perks they gave you. It’s shameful she has to stoop so low to stay in power, and anyone who accepts Pelosi’s bribe to cast a vote for her is untrustworthy. It’s shameful that not only have we descended this far, but also that we accept it as a normal way of doing business.
Scot Sinclair, Third Lake
By now it should be clear to everyone that President Donald Trump’s immigration policies are among the most divisive of his presidency. That’s because how we treat newcomers reflects the core of America’s values. In October, the Department of Homeland Security announced a proposed change to the “public charge” regulation that would deny visa and green card applicants who are deemed to be too poor.
According to the proposed changes, someone can be denied permanent residency if they have ever received SNAP benefits (food stamps), Medicaid, or federal housing assistance, or if it seems that they will likely need them at some point in the future.
This is discrimination based on income level, plain and simple. We must stand up to the oligarchs of the Trump administration in defense of American values. Americans should share their thoughts with the government during the public comment period at http://www.federalregister.gov. I hope that through our comments we can convince the Trump administration that America — a nation of immigrants — is not just for the rich.
Ashley Castro, Lake View