Willis: The Need for Services

NORTHLAKE, IL – As the General Assembly continue to reconvene in Springfield for a special session, state Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, released the following statement.

Governor Rauner does not understand how much Illinois’ budget crisis is hurting new immigrant and refugee families in our communities. Illinois has gone over 700 days without a full budget, and as a result, service providers across the state are unsure as to whether or not they will be able to keep their door open and continue their work. That’s why passing a fair and balanced budget remains my top priority, but I will not do so at the expense of vital immigrant integration services, such as:

• Illinois Welcoming Centers, which provide information and assistance to families about an array of services, programs, and classes that are available to help them integrate and become self-sufficient, and

The New Americans Initiative, which enables organizations to promote U.S. citizenship and provide citizenship application assistance.

The time has come to find common ground on a responsible path forward because we cannot continue to rely on court-ordered spending plans. Included in this year’s ongoing budget negotiations is the proposal to raise new revenue alongside strategic spending cuts. That is why the super-wealthy need to pay their fair share to fund vital public investments that aid new immigrants and enable them to earn more and contribute to our state’s economy.

We need a resolution to this budget impasse, and the new revenue I am seeking will ensure that classes for English language learners and citizenship workshops are able to keep their doors open. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we work to ensure that immigrants and refugees are able to become fully contributing members to our communities, and I will continue fighting for a fair and responsible budget that allows you to continue making that happen.

Willis is serving her third term in the Illinois General Assembly as State Representative of the 77th District, which includes O’Hare Airport and portions of Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, Stone Park, and Wood Dale.