Following the Paris attacks in 2015, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner joined over 25 other governors and announced that he would halt accepting Syrian refugees into the state. In December 2016, an interfaith group demanded that he publicly reverse his stand and allocate additional resources to help resettle refugees in Illinois. Catherine Kelly, a spokesperson for the Governor’s office issued the following statement: “Governor Rauner will continue making Illinois a welcoming and inclusive place to live while insisting that the federal government provide basic security information on refugees from ISIS-controlled areas to ensure the safety of all Americans.” In other words, his original position stands.
Following the January 2017 Executive Order that permanently banned Syrian refugees, Governor Rauner avoided taking a stand. His office again issued a statement. “The governor has been supportive of tightening the vetting process for Syrian refugees because of ISIS attempts to infiltrate refugee flows — but he’s opposed to immigration bans that target any specific religion.” In other words, his original position stands.
Today, busloads of people will travel to the Illinois Capital in Springfield, to demand that Illinois be a welcoming state and to lobby legislators to strengthen protections for immigrants and refugees. The trip is sponsored by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
If you live in Illinois, contact your state representative and/or senator and ask them to support and pass the Immigrant Safe Zone Act which will ensure that ICE and cooperating state and local law enforcement will not be able to target schools, churches or health care centers for raids.
If you live in another state, contact your state representative and/or senator to find out if there are any proposed laws related to immigration or refugees coming before the legislature. Find out if they support protection for immigrants and refugees. Tell them you support immigrant and refugee rights and you want them to support immigrants too.