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Mujeres Latinas en Accion Urges Governor Rauner to Restore Funding to Immigrant Services

On Friday afternoon, April 3, the Illinois Department of Human Services suspended funding for Immigrant Services Line Item programs, including Mujeres programs, effective immediately.

 Mujeres Latinas en Accion decries the Governor’s unilateral decision to cut immigrant services programs effective immediately. The loss of this funding will have devastating effects for immigrant women and families the ripple effects of which will be felt in communities and economies throughout the state.

 After making a commitment to support the immigrant community, Governor Rauner has gone back on his word. These cuts represent a huge blow to immigrant families, yet only represent a minimal savings to the State. The Immigrant Services Line Item represents only .01% of the total state budget and for every $1 invested into these services the state makes $5 in tax revenue. Furthermore, this unilateral funding freeze came after the General Assembly took emergency action to address the budget shortfall for the remainder of the fiscal year – actions that specifically maintained funding for immigrant services.

Mujeres is just one of 61 community organizations who rely on Immigrant Services Line Item funding to operate their programs. Without this funding Mujeres’ services will be immediately affected in the following ways:

Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP)  
Immigrant Family Resource Program funding directly impacts survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who will no longer receive culturally competent economic case management services to access assistance for basic needs such as food, medical care, rental assistance, utility payments and other immediate human needs. This program allows survivors to access the resources they need to gain economic independence in order to lead lives free of violence.

•    For the remainder of FY15 (July 2014-June 2015), Mujeres now faces a deficit of $12,500 if we are to continue to provide these services. For the coming fiscal year we face a loss of $50,000 if funding is not restored. This funding supports two staff positions, as well as $55,000 leveraged for needy families as a result of this state contract.

•    Latina immigrant women face many more barriers to leaving violent relationships and require culturally and linguistically appropriate services that will help them navigate systems to access the resources they need. Without access to this assistance, many survivors may return to their abusers due to financial dependency. Last year, nearly 100 women received this service.

New Americans Initiative (NAI- Latina Immigrant Integration)
The New Americans Initiative is a non-profit partnership between the State of Illinois and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to help legal permanent residents (LPRs) through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen with free assistance.

•    Last year, Mujeres alone reached over 850 LPRs with targeted education and outreach. Full citizenship grants individuals greater opportunities such as new employment opportunities and higher earning power, voting rights, and increased civic participation. Also of importance for many of our clients, it eliminates a tool of coercion. Many abusers use the threat of deportation as a method of continuing abusive relationships. Citizenship also provides greater access to resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

•    Beyond the benefit to our participants, increasing citizenship has definitive fiscal benefits for our state. Median earnings for naturalized citizens in our state outpace those of noncitizens by as much as $20,000 per year. Increased earnings will lead to increased income tax revenue. Investing in Latinas is an investment in our communities. Latinas are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in Illinois. In Illinois there are an estimated 23,900 Latina-owned firms generating $7.1 billion in revenues. (Women’s Business Development Center, 2014)

•    Mujeres is experiencing a cut of $10,000 for the remainder of the current year and a total loss of $39,985 if funding is not restored in FY16 (July 2015-June 2016). This means approximately 220 LPRs who won’t be reached between now and the end of June and 850 potential US citizens not reached next year if funding is not restored.

Mujeres Latinas en Accion calls on Governor Rauner to restore funding for immigrant services immediately.

Take Action!
-Call or visit your legislator and make your voice heard. http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx
-Sign the IL Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights’ petition to restore funding http://home-icirraction.nationbuilder.com/restore_services
-Join Mujeres, ICIRR and other immigrant serving organizations for a rally at the Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph St. Wednesday, April 8th,at 12:00 PM, to demand that Governor Rauner restore immigrant services that will strengthen our communities across the state of Illinois. RSVP here.

April 7, 2015 | 11:22 AM