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  • Sacred Conversations 2016

Illinois leaders campaign for federal immigration reform

Several prominent public figures in Illinois are pushing for passage of a federal immigration reform bill, which President Barack Obama called “the best chance we’ve had in years to fix our broken immigration system.” The Senate could pass the bill by July 4, though it faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives.

For months, a bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in the Senate has negotiated details of a 1,000-page immigration reform bill known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The Senate voted on June 11 to begin debating the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he hoped to have it passed by Independence Day. The bill would affect an estimated 11 million people who have immigrated to the U.S. illegally.

Meanwhile, advocacy groups in Springfield and the rest of Illinois are lobbying lawmakers to pass the bill. Seven members of the Springfield-based Faith Coalition for the Common Good were in Washington, D.C., last week to meet with Illinois’ elected officials in the nation’s capital.

Shelly Heideman, executive director of the coalition, said the group had met with Rep. Rodney Davis, R-13, and staff members from the office of Rep. Aaron Schock, R-18. Pastor T. Ray McJunkins of Union Baptist Church, 1405 E. Monroe St., met with Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s chief of staff, as well.

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