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Rep. Delia Ramirez calls on Biden to issue paroles and expedited work permits for undocumented migrants in Chicago

Ramirez, alongside fellow Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley with support from several immigrant organizations, co-wrote a letter to the president

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Illinois Congresswoman Delia Ramirez, the first Latina to be elected to Congress from the Midwest, co-led a letter to President Joe Biden that called on his administration to issue paroles and expedited work permits for undocumented migrants and new arrivals in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs to address the high labor shortages. 

Ramirez underlined her real-life circumstances as the wife of a DREAMer and the daughter of working immigrants. 

She called on Biden to use his executive authority to give over 11 million migrants the opportunity for migrants to “set roots.” 

“An opportunity to set roots, to safely and legally join the workforce, to become financially independent, and to fully and openly contribute to our economy while responding to labor shortages and mitigating labor exploitation that threaten our community’s well-being and our economy,” wrote Ramirez, who is a vice ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee. 

Ramirez co-authored the letter with two of her fellow Illinois Congress Members, Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigleymitigate. It also says that the expedited action on the pressing issue of an immigration backlog would also address labor exploitation of children and adults, and provide financial independence for those newly immigrated, and those who’ve been in the state and country for years. 

“By providing broad parole to keep families and communities together, as well as expedited work permits, the Biden-Harris Administration will pave a critical step towards immigration reform, protecting migrant workers, including children, from abusive and exploitative labor practices, and helping small businesses fill their open positions,” she said. 

The letter is supported by several immigrant organizations including The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), United We Dream, and the Immigrants' List Civic Action (ILCA). 

"Parole has been an essential element of our nation’s Immigration laws since at least the 1940s when we recognized the need to provide shelter for those fleeing persecution. Immigrants’ List urges the Biden Administration to use parole as an essential element of our immigration policy in protecting those fleeing persecution, natural disasters, and political and economic catastrophes and to protect undocumented immigrants who have resided in our country for lengthy periods of time from deportation,” shared the Immigrants' List Civic Action. 

The organization also called on Biden to grant employment authorization to those paroled into the country to help meet the “desperate need for farmworkers, healthcare workers, and service workers.” 

Chicago specifically, along with other sanctuary cities like D.C. and Philadelphia, have been on the receiving end of several migrant buses sent in the past year by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, with more than 8,000 migrants having arrived since August 2022, according to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, with more on the way. 

The city is out of space and resources and even sent a letter to Abbott calling his actions "inhumane and dangerous" and saying the city is "tapped out,” according to Lightfoot. 

“Illinois prides itself on being a welcoming state, in a nation built by immigrants, but we need more resources,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “That is why I am joining my colleagues in calling for swift action to help keep families and communities together all while supporting our local economies.”

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