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Illinois Reps Join Together to Invite Immigration Advocates to State of the Union

Jan 24, 2014
Press Release
Illinois Reps Join Together to Invite Immigration Advocates to State of the Union

Washington, DC—U.S. Representatives Luis Gutiérrez (IL-4), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Bill Foster (IL-11) each invited an immigration reform advocate to be their guest at President Obama’s State of the Union Address this Tuesday.

 “The State of the Union helps lay the road map and set the priorities for the upcoming year," Reps. Gutiérrez, Quigley, Schakowsky, Schneider and Foster said. "This year, we joined together to invite people whose stories illustrate the importance of immigration reform and to make clear that passing comprehensive immigration reform should be at the top of the to-do list.” 

Gutiérrez Guest: Rev. Tony Suárez, originally from Chicago, serves as National Vice President of Chapters for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), America's largest Hispanic evangelical association serving over 40,118 congregations in the United States and Puerto Rico.  Rev. Suárez and the NHCLC were integral partners in the Fast For Families in support of immigration reform that took place on the National Mall and garnered national and international attention. Rev. Samuel Rodríguez, the President of NHCLC fasted for 40 days as part of the Fast For Families.  Both Rev. Rodríguez and Rev. Suárez are national leaders among Hispanic evangelicals working within the evangelical movement and across the political spectrum to build support for sensible immigration reform.

Quigley Guest: Ameya Pawar is the son of Indian immigrants and the city’s first Asian-American alderman, proudly representing the 47th Ward. His parents came to the United States to pursue a better life for their family and his dad then sponsored his brothers to pursue the same dream. A generation later, their kids are serving their country on the City Council in Chicago, as a doctor of physical therapy, and as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force. As Alderman Pawar says, “Passing comprehensive immigration reform will ensure another generation of immigrants can serve their country."

Schakowsky Guest:  Rudy Lopez is a senior organizer in Chicago for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).  He fasted for 22 days on the National Mall as part of the Fast for Families’ call for Congressional passage of comprehensive immigration reform, and he is continuing to work with the faith community, particularly the Catholic Church, around the Fast.   As Mr. Lopez has said, “My fasting is but a small sacrifice to remind Congress of the dire need to act on immigration reform.”

Schneider Guest: Estefania Garcia was born in Mexico and brought to the United States when she was only a child. A DREAMer, she applied and was approved for the deferred action program, which allows for a two-year reprieve from deportation. Estefania graduated from Lake Forest College in 2013 with a double major in Psychology and Spanish and a minor in business. She currently lives in Highwood and works for Mano a Mano, an important nonprofit organization that provides social, educational and career services to immigrant and underserved families in Lake County.

Foster Guest: Maria Torres is an undocumented youth, who came to Illinois when she was 15 years old. After she was brought to the US, Torres learned English, graduated from high school with honors, and received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in December 2012.  Torres was granted work authorization through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals but currently is ineligible for citizenship. Torres works at Family Focus in Aurora, IL, helping others navigate the immigration system.