October 27, 2023

Duckworth Hosts Community Roundtable with Chicagoland Latine Leaders


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) hosted a roundtable discussion on how to better support migrant families and asylum seekers as well as several other priorities with several Latine community leaders, City of Chicago Deputy Mayor for Immigration and Refugee Rights Beatriz Ponce De Leon, Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee Chair and 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vazquez and Illinois Department of Human Services Associate Secretary Kirstin Chernawsky. The leaders who participated in today’s discussion have been on the ground assisting with and advocating for basic needs of Chicago’s new arrivals, including shelter, food, legal and vital healthcare services. Photos of today’s roundtable discussion are available at this link.

“Since August 2022, Republican Governors have sent over 17,000 asylum seekers into Chicago, some in the dead of night when humanitarian support isn’t even available, treating them like cargo and exploiting human beings for political gain. It’s inhumane,” said Duckworth. “I was glad to meet with these leaders committed to building strategy and showing compassion to our state’s newest arrivals and to discuss my support on the federal level. The state, city and community leaders are continuing to work together and do the best they can, because it is our duty to treat all people with compassion and dignity.”

Duckworth, the Deputy Mayor, the Alderman and the Associate Secretary were joined by Latino Policy Forum Civic Engagement Vice President Jose Marco-Paredes, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Deputy Director Veronica Castro, The Resurrection Project Immigrant Justice Vice President Erendida Rendon, New Life Executive Director Pastor Matt DeMateo and Erika Villegas of the Mutual Aid Group.

Duckworth, who has long called out disgusting political Republican immigration tactics, joined U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month to lead members of the Illinois Democratic Congressional Delegation in calling on President Biden urging the Administration to provide Illinois and the City of Chicago with the necessary resources to receive asylum seekers in a safe and orderly fashion. In the letter, the lawmakers call for government-wide provision of resources, streamlining work authorization for additional populations, technical assistance for work permit applications, improved coordination and data sharing and improvements to the Shelter and Services Program (SSP). She and Durbin also met with Illinois Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch to discuss Illinois’s humanitarian response to the arrival of more than 17,000 migrants. During their meeting, Duckworth, Durbin and Speaker Welch spoke about the need for the Biden Administration to offer critical support to Illinois as it responds to asylum-seekers arriving in the state.