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Martinez, McGuire concerned about immigrant welcoming centers funds (VIDEO)

martinez-welcome-centerThe Illinois Department of Human Services oversees Illinois Welcoming Centers, facilities to provide immigrant and refugee individuals and families with services, information and classes to assist in their path towards successful integration to the state.

The centers consolidate access to services from many state agencies, and their staff has been specially trained to work with the immigrant and refugee community. Information includes health, social, educational, employment, rehabilitation and homeownership services.

The Welcoming Centers are on the long list of programs the governor has targeted for deep cuts or elimination in his budget, even as he has publicly stated his support for immigration.

Lawmakers at a press conference this week focused on the values of the services and the risks to immigrant and refugee communities without them.

"We are fighting to restore funding for welcoming centers that help Illinois' newest residents learn English, find jobs and become a productive part of our economy," Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D - Chicago) said.

Senator Pat McGuire (D - Crest Hill) spoke of his concerns regarding welcoming centers and their role in aiding job readiness for newcomers.

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