Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:01 AM
SPRINGFIELD – Shocked at the governor’s push to eliminate immigration services, State Sen. Omar Aquino’s first questions at a recent Senate budget hearing were to inquire whether the Rauner administration had coordinated the immigration cuts with the Trump White House.
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget director didn’t know if his boss had talked to Trump about the agenda, but he did remind Aquino and other Senators that this wasn’t the first time Rauner had publicly proposed eliminating state assistance for immigrants.
“These reductions are the same reductions that were introduced in the governor’s fiscal year 2016 budget,” said Rauner Budget Director Scott Harry.
Aquino said the hearing was a reminder that Rauner has been pushing an anti-immigrant agenda since well before Trump got elected and took office.
“Maybe it’s Trump who’s taking his anti-immigrant cues from Rauner. This might explain Gov. Rauner’s silence while immigrants were being detained at O’Hare,” Aquino said after the budget hearing. “So much for the governor who said he was going to make Illinois compassionate and competitive.”
Specifically, Rauner’s budget eliminates $5.9 million for immigrant integration services and wipes out the $1.5 million for welcoming centers intended to be the point of contact for immigrants arriving in Illinois.
This is not the first time that Gov. Rauner has clashed with advocates for humane immigration policy. In 2015, along with then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Rauner released a statement in which he announced that he would suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state.
Sen. Omar Aquino
2nd Senate District
Years served: 2016 - Present
Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II;Education; Human Services; Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Telecommunications and Information Technology (Vice-Chairperson).
Biography: Born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago; B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology, Loyola University Chicago; Bilingual Case Manager at Central West Case Management Unit at the Jane Addams School of Social Work; Legislative Assistant in the Illinois House of Representatives; Outreach Coordinator for Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth; Devoted to improving education, aging services and human services.