HomeTRP NewsCasa Maravilla tenants travel to Springfield for Capitol's Lobby Day

Casa Maravilla tenants travel to Springfield for Capitol's Lobby Day

by Erendira Rendon
Published: April 4, 2011
On Thursday, March 3rd over 40 community members including Resurrection Project tenants from Casa Maravilla, members from Centro Toribio Romo Immigrant Center and parishioners from Saint Agnes of Bohemia parish packed a bus and two cars and headed down to Springfield on a mission to talk to their state elected officials.  It has become a tradition; this time of year hundreds of immigrant advocates flood the halls of the state capital to ensure that the state assembly is doing the best it can be for all the immigrants and refugees in the state. 
This year, community members went to lobby and make sure the immigrant service line item remains funded so that immigrants can continue to receive the services they need, lobby for the Illinois DREAM Act making it more attainable for undocumented students to go to college, and to lobby for the Smart Enforcement Act, a bill that would defund programs such as “Secure Communities” which is deporting immigrants in numbers never seen before and costing the state valuable resources.
Maria Reyes from Saint Agnes of Bohemia said she went to Springfield because she was pulled over by the police a month ago for failing to make a stop and was only given a warning.  “I realize that if I had been undocumented, the consequences could have been much worse, I could have been deported for this traffic violation instead of just given a warning,” Maria told the group on the bus.  Agustin Vega, a resident of Casa Maravilla, told the group he was going to Springfield because he was once accused and detained for being an undocumented immigrant even though he was born in America, he expressed frustration with programs that lead to discrimination and said that those programs needed to be stopped.
While at Springfield, community leaders met and spoke with Senator Antonio Munoz and Representative Acevedo.  Maria Pena thanked Senator Munoz for his leadership on Smart Enforcement Act and asked what the community could do to move the bill forward while others shared stories of their friends in deportation.  Lucio Ibarra, a Casa Maravilla leader, lead the group in the discussion with Representative Acevedo and asked him for his support and leadership in the House of Representatives.
The group came back with enthusiasm to keep working on improving the lives of immigrants and their families in the state and will soon be holding Know Your Rights trainings throughout Pilsen and Little Village!