Tuesday, June 28, 2016 05:17 PM
CHICAGO — In an effort to ensure immigrants get the services they need, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is headed to Springfield tomorrow to vote for a plan that would help our state’s newest residents.
“It’s been a year since Illinois stopped funding immigrant services,” Martinez said. “Service providers and immigrants are suffering. We need to do the right thing and get immigrant services funded now.”
During the budget impasse, Welcoming Centers have closed their doors due to lack of state funding. Immigration integration services have gone unfunded too.
Welcoming Centers serve as lifelines to our state’s newest residents by offering classes and providing information on topics such as employment training and home ownership.
Immigration integration services include language assistance, health care, citizenship services and other basic supports.
“Immigrants are part of our communities, and we need to have programs and services in place that invest in them and help strengthen the culture and economy of our state,” Martinez said.
According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, immigrants make up 14 percent of Illinois’ population and 18 percent of the state’s workforce.
The Senate plan Martinez will vote for tomorrow is designed to get immigrant services and other vital human service programs funded. These programs have been without state aid during the budget impasse.
Senator Iris Y. Martinez
Majority Caucus Chair
Years served: 2003 - Present
Committee assignments: Education; Energy; Gaming; Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions (Chairperson); Transportation.
Biography: Born Feb. 25, 1956, in Chicago; earned her bachelor's degree in public policy and administration from Northeastern Illinois University in 2009; elected president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She is also the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Co-Chair; has one daughter.