United African Organization

Governor Rauner’s Budget Eliminates Immigrant Integration Service Line Item

Gov. Bruce Rauner

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed $31.5 billion budget for the state’s next fiscal year includes devastating cuts on the backs of our vulnerable and most disadvantaged residents. The governor proposed cuts include $82 Million reduction in community mental health services, increase in required co-pays for childcare services, in addition to the elimination of state funding for entire programs such as Immigrant Integration Services.
The Immigrant Services Line Item helps Illinois’ immigrants apply to become U.S. citizens, provide health and nutrition outreach/access to low-income immigrants, helps refugees start new lives in Illinois, and support the integration of vulnerable members of immigrant communities.

Helping immigrants achieve citizenship directly affects the state economy as those who attain citizenship increase their earnings by an average of $7,000. Members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) have been instrumental in providing 530,000 immigrants with information for citizenship and assisted 96,445 to fill out forms. The NAI is also cost effective as it costs only $125 per applicant for the entire citizenship application.

Immigrant families need a lot of help with attaining access to social services and integrating with local communities. The IFRP grant has, over the past 12 years, connected over 500,000 refugees and immigrants with social services and successfully assisted them with the process of integration. Through the IFRP grant, UAO is able to help African immigrant families gain access to food stamps, Medicaid and other social services. In the 2014 fiscal year, the IFRP assisted 71,088 individuals at $59.33 per active case, which makes it greatly cost effective.

Cutting funding for immigrant integration services will increase the state’s unemployment rate as staff will have to be laid off and many immigrants will go without the valuable services offered by ICIRR members. Furthermore, 85% of the organizations benefiting from IFRP and NAI would not be able to support their staff and 79% of the same organizations will have to discontinue IFRP or NAI services. Not only will the state economy be negatively affected, the community will also suffer as a result of the expected budget cuts.

Call your State Senators and Representatives today to support immigrant integration services. Click here to find your Senator or here to find your State Representative.
If you have need further information, please contact us at services@uniteafricans.org or by calling (312) 949-9980.

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