Press Releases
June 12, 2013

Illinois Working Men and Women Urge Senator Mark Kirk to Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform

State’s top labor leaders meet with Illinois’ delegation in Washington, D.C. while working people in Illinois rally for support

For Immediate Release

[CHICAGO] – Working men and women across Illinois are calling on their elected representatives in Washington to pass commonsense immigration reform that includes strong worker protections and creates a road map to citizenship for more than 11 million aspiring citizens.

Michael Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, and Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, will visit today  with elected officials in Washington to ask for their support of this historic legislation while back home in Illinois, hundreds of working men and women are rallying and making calls to Senator Mark Kirk and others asking for their support.

The Senate began debate on comprehensive immigration reform legislation yesterday.  Senator Kirk was one of only 15 senators to vote against a procedural motion that allowed debate on the bill.

“We plan to let Senator Kirk know that we are disappointed in his vote yesterday,” said Carrigan.  “While we understand that Senator Kirk, like each Senator, has amendments he would like to see included in the bill, bi-partisan immigration reform is a serious effort to address a national crisis that is undermining Illinois families, workplaces, and communities.  It deserves serious debate and an up or down vote.”

“Illinois’ working families are watching and waiting for Senator Kirk to help millions of aspiring Americans achieve citizenship.  We are committed to help see this through and we’re counting on Senator Kirk’s support,” he added.

“Now is the time for real immigration reform that will put an end to the abuse and exploitation of workers and keep families together,” said Ramirez. “Too many workers are silenced from speaking up against unsafe working conditions, stolen wages and other injustices. Our current system of immigration is badly broken and harms far too many workers—both U.S. born as well as aspiring citizens. We hope Illinois’ elected representatives will stand with workers, families and everyone who is affected or supports this reform to help it become law.”

The lobby visit is part of a national lobby day involving working family advocates from across the country. The lobby visits will also coincide with a massive mobilization the week of June 10-14 encouraging millions of working families across the country to contact their members of Congress to demand fair and compassionate immigration reform.

Illinois’ unions have been engaged with immigration reform advocates, small business owners, community leaders, religious and faith-based groups and others in supporting legislation in the United States Senate. Working men and women have made phone calls, sent emails and spoken up in other ways to urge their elected leaders to pass legislation this summer.