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Gov. Affairs Coordinator Speaks at Immigration Reform Rallies

By Julianna Parlock

This September, CAIR-Chicago is joining immigrant rights advocates from across Chicago, every Tuesday, to hold peaceful vigils outside Congressman Mark Kirk’s office in Skokie, Illinois. The vigils, which are part of the national campaign Reform Immigration For America, aim to challenge Illinois members of Congress who have not yet signed on to support comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).

CAIR-Chicago Government Affairs Coordinator Reema Ahmad, who spoke at the vigil, says, “It’s important to get immigration reform on the table now. We need just, humane solutions for immigration reform to address the ten million undocumented residents of this country.”

Mark Kirk, who has voted in support of many anti-immigrant bills and suggested that sending contraceptives to Mexico would help curb Mexican immigration, has yet to support CIR.

The interfaith vigil opened with prayer, and offered translations for Spanish speakers in attendance. Juan Jose Gonzalez from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) led participants in drafting letters to Congressman Kirk, which were then hand delivered to his office.

Participants were invited to share what immigration reform means to them. One woman spoke of her ancestors who came to the U.S. as immigrants. “They came before there were any laws to limit them,” she said. “Newcomers should have the same opportunities.”

Vigils will be held each Tuesday this September, from 3:00-4:00pm. Chicago’s Muslim community will take the lead in organizing the September 22nd vigil.

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