Faith groups defend their right to register new citizens and Latinos to vote

January 14, 2008

Faith groups defend their right to register new citizens and Latinos to vote

Anti-immigrant forces misrepresent the truth, attempt to derail voter registration drive

ADDISON, IL—Faith groups and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) trumpeted its new high-profile campaign to register new U.S. citizens to vote and to engage the immigrant community in the political life of the United States. Recent allegations from Fran Eaton, editor of the conservative online publication The Illinois Review, falsely insinuate that ICIRR and partner organizations are registering undocumented immigrants to vote. As she published her accusations, Eaton approached ICIRR voter registration campaign workers, misrepresenting herself and her organization in a possible attempt to entrap volunteers and perhaps commit voter fraud. ICIRR along with faith groups expressed their disgust at such tactics and reaffirmed their right to include immigrants in meaningful and appropriate participation in America’s democracy.

“Registering US citizens to vote is not only a good thing to do; it is our duty. And we will not let any person or organization intimidate or discourage us from this sacred call to duty. We will continue to listen and respond to the immigrant population in our suburbs and empower them by registering eligible immigrants to vote,” said Fr. Tony Taschetta, pastor of St. Isidore Catholic Church in Bloomingdale.

ICIRR sent a letter to DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett formally requesting a meeting and an investigation of Ms. Eaton’s actions.

“Acts of intimidation as we register voters or at the polls will only further our resolve to have our voices heard,” said Naim Mansour from the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

ICIRR’s New Americans Democracy Project is a non-partisan voter registration, education and mobilization campaign aimed at the immigrant population in Illinois. The centerpiece of ICIRR’s strategy is its collaboration with community organizations throughout the city and suburbs, including St. Isidore Church and the Diocese of Joliet, the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and World Relief DuPage. The campaign also promotes citizenship among legal permanent residents.

For more information call 1-877-792-1500 or visit HYPERLINK "" or ICIRR’s website HYPERLINK "" or call Catherine Salgado at 312.332.7360 ext. 35 or 630.362.6202.