ICIRR Surpasses its Goal; Registers more than 10,000 Immigrant Voters
Immigrant voter registration drive draws to a close, campaign shifts to get-out-the-vote efforts; ICIRR will hold a Candidates Forum with Governor and U.S. Senate candidates
Chicago, Illinois – On the last day of voter registration, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) along with community leaders, volunteers and campaign fellows announced their success in surpassing the goal and completing 10,533 voter registrations in the immigrant community through its One Nation, One Dream: Standing for Families campaign.
The campaign aims to highlight immigrant contributions to the state and our nation; the urgent need for federal solutions for the broken immigration system, and a fair state budget and fair political representation for the diverse immigrant communities of Illinois. The campaign includes the non-partisan voter mobilization program, New Americans Democracy project (NADP.) The campaign goal is to turn 133,128 immigrant voters to the polls on Election Day. “Immigrant families in Illinois have chosen to make America our home because we value our freedoms and our Democracy,” said Lawrence Benito, ICIRR Deputy Director. “We are using our democratic freedoms to make our voices and our votes heard like never before. Our nation needs to close the door on the anti-immigrant hate, to pass just and humane immigration reform, a fair state budget for immigrant families and political representation that reflects the diversity of this state.”
Participants unveiled plans to get-out-the-vote on diverse communities including Latino, Muslim, Asian, Polish, and other areas of Chicago and Suburbs with high concentrations of immigrant voters. “I am working to mobilize Asian American voters to make our voices heard and to bring about the changes that our community wants,” said Sabrina Chin, an NADP fellow who registered more than 1,000 voters in Chinatown. “We want better political representation for our community. We want federal solutions for the broken immigration system including the reunification of our families and basic resources like the expansion of the local library. We want to show politicians that we have political power and they need to pay attention to the issues that we care about.”
“Politicians are aware of the growing Latino political power,” said Artemio Arreola, ICIRR political director. “As a response to the attacks on our communities and our families, we will turn out to the polls to show that we cannot be taken for granted. We are ready to march again, this time to the polls.”
Muslims, Asians and Polish communities are involved in this project like never before. “In the Muslim community, we will be voting on November 2 to show that we won’t tolerate hate against ours and other communities,” said Seemi Choudry, an ICIRR volunteer working with the campaign. “We want politicians to stand against the growing Islamophobia affecting our communities.”
The added support of the other ethnic groups shows that other immigrant communities are eager to be counted. Monika Tietz, a leader with the Polish Initiative of Chicago spoke about their experience working to mobilize the Polish community to vote. “We are very excited about the upcoming elections and we want make sure that candidates that seek our votes are responsive to the needs of the Polish and the entire immigrant community. We care about immigration reform, many Polish families are undocumented and they are being torn apart by the broken system. The Polish community knows what is at stake and will come out to vote in November to show that they want better federal immigration laws.”
As part of the upcoming activities to educate and mobilize immigrant voters, ICIRR will hold a candidates forum on Saturday, October 16 at 2pm, location TBD. The forum will be with Governor and U.S. Senate candidates.
Following the press conference, a delegation of New American Democracy Project (NADP) fellows working with ICIRR in its non-partisan immigrant voter mobilization efforts delivered voter registrations at the Cook County and Chicago Board of Elections’ offices.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a state wide coalition of 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.
For more information, visit www.icirr.org