HomeAround TRP NewsletterIllinois General Assembly Approves Work Permits for All Resolution

Illinois General Assembly Approves Work Permits for All Resolution

May 28, 2024

“… [L]ike anyone who works, immigrants and their families deserve to benefit from the fruits of their labor. Today’s action is a declaration of our state’s commitment to both economic pragmatism and human rights.”

SPRINGFIELD — Late Sunday night, the Illinois General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 69 (H.J.R. 69), the “Work Permits for All” resolution, which is a formal legislative document from both the Illinois House and Senate. The resolution calls on President Biden to authorize the establishment of a parole and work authorization program for long-term immigrant workers who are undocumented and reside in Illinois. Work authorizations for Illinois’ undocumented population would help fill the state’s critical need for labor and would secure the lives of tens of thousands of mixed status families in Illinois. 

“The passage of the Works Permits for All resolution sends a clear message from Illinois to President Biden: Immigrants are essential contributors to our economy, and they deserve the dignity of employment protections and fair wages,” said President and CEO of the Latino Policy Forum, Sylvia Puente. “And like anyone who works, immigrants and their families deserve to benefit from the fruits of their labor. Today’s action is a declaration of our state’s commitment to both economic pragmatism and human rights. I am proud to be from the great state of Illinois.”

“Every year, workers without legal authorization contribute $1.5 billion to the Illinois economy without any pathway to citizenship or even official work authorization. Our community members have been waiting for a generation or more to access the same rights and privileges as every other generation of immigrants has enjoyed since coming to this country, despite our many contributions,” said Jose Frausto, Executive Director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative. “We are proud to live in a state where leadership at every level has delivered a clear message to the President and Congress calling for executive action to issue work permits immediately while simultaneously driving toward a permanent, legislated pathway to citizenship. We hope the President recognizes the importance of this issue to our community and chooses to take swift action before the Democratic convention in August.”

Illinois legislators have taken a positive step by passing the Work Permits for All resolution, said Erendira Rendon, vice president of Immigrant Justice at The Resurrection Project. “Now it’s up to President Biden and the Administration, who have the power to change the lives of all workers and enable them to live securely. He should act now.”

In Illinois, there is a labor shortage, including in critical industries such as education and healthcare. For every 100 jobs, there are only 76 available workers. Immigrants have long been a critical component of the U.S. economy, without whom growth and prosperity would be impossible. 

At the same time, an estimated 400,000 immigrants in Illinois are undocumented, meaning that those who work are often limited to dangerous, exploitative, and low-paying jobs because they do not have permission to work legally. Work authorization would make it possible for undocumented workers to make better wages and have protections against unsafe working conditions and wage theft.

The resolution was led in the House by Deputy Majority Leader, Lisa Hernandez and in the Senate by Senator Karina Villa. 

The Resurrection Project and Latino Policy Forum are members of the Work Permits for All Coalition, which organized and advocated for House Joint Resolution 69. The Coalition is The Resurrection Project, Latino Policy Forum, American Business Coalition (ABIC), Chicago Workers Collaborative, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), the Hispanic Federation, and a diverse group of supporters of H.J.R. 69 comprising more than 100 advocacy, direct service, and faith-based organizations and leaders, as well as labor unions, industry and business associations, and elected officials. 


About the Latino Policy Forum

The Latino Policy Forum is the only organization in the Chicago area that facilitates the involvement of Latinos at all levels of public decision-making. The Forum conducts analysis to inform, influence and lead. Its goals are to improve education outcomes, advocate for affordable housing, promote just immigration policies, and engage diverse sectors of the community, with an understanding that advancing Latinos advances a shared future. For more information, visit latinopolicyforum.org.

About The Resurrection Project
The Resurrection Project (TRP) builds trusting relationships to educate and propel individuals, immigrants, and families to achieve their social and economic aspirations, stable homes, and equitable participation in their community. TRP is a leading provider of affordable housing, financial education, and immigration services on Chicago’s Southwest side.

During the past three decades TRP has worked to improve the lives of individuals and families by creating wealth, building assets, and engaging residents to be catalysts for change. Rooted in the Pilsen community, TRP’s impact now extends across the City of Chicago and through the State of Illinois; we are making steady progress towards leveraging and preserving more than $1 billion in community wealth by 2025. To learn more about our programs and services visit us at resurrectionproject.org.