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ICIRR statement on 2023 state budget

Brandon Lee


Wed May 31 2023

As the General Assembly wraps up its session, immigrants in Illinois celebrate significant budgetary and legislative victories, while also calling on elected officials to listen to our communities and continue building towards healthcare and economic justice for all Illinoisans.

Below is a statement from Lawrence Benito, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:

“This session our communities organized to ensure that the General Assembly passed a budget that addresses our most urgent needs, and we won continued funding for essential immigrant services programs. Additionally, communities and legislative allies worked collaboratively to pass two meaningful bills that will prevent medical debt and make driver’s licenses and state IDs accessible to all. These represent significant wins, and we look forward to seeing them signed into law by Governor Pritzker.

“But we know that the budget is a moral document, one that reflects our values as a state. Our elected officials made too many decisions that will ultimately leave families behind. By not taking up a child tax credit, and by not committing to maintaining healthcare coverage for tens of thousands of immigrants, Illinois risks taking a significant step backwards in its support of families across the state.

“Our members will hold our leaders accountable to the progressive standard they have set here in Illinois. We are committed to organizing to win a child tax credit; prevent any rollbacks to healthcare for undocumented Illinoisans; and pass the necessary revenue needed to ensure that all Illinois families are able to thrive, not just survive.”

Immigrant community wins in the 103rd General Assembly:

  • $38 million allocated for the Immigrant Services Line Item, which includes essential public benefits assistance; necessary cash assistance for immigrant families; citizenship and DACA application assistance; and ongoing case management support for Afghan, Ukrainian, and southern border arrivals

  • HB 2719, Protect Illinoisans from Unifair Medical Debt (lead sponsors: Rep. Dagmara Avelar & Sen. Robert Peters), will prevent medical debt by requiring that uninsured community members be screened for eligibility for healthcare programs or financial assistance.

  • HB 3882, Drivers Licenses for ALL (lead sponsors: Rep. Barbara Hernandez & Sen. Ram Villivalam), will make standard driver’s licenses and state IDs available for all Illinois residents regardless of immigration status.

  • 20% increase to child care funding, making it more affordable to thousands of working families across Illinois.

Our communities will continue advocating for:

  • Healthcare expansion for all Illinoisans, including undocumented residents age 19-41, AND continued coverage for undocumented residents age 42-and-up;

  • Economic relief for all working families through a state child tax credit, and other wealth equity solutions that will help ensure Illinois lifts its residents out of poverty;

  • Employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated Illinoisans through the SAFER Act.

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