Aquino questions Rauner budget’s commitment to immigrants


SPRINGFIELD – In a recent Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, questioned Illinois State Budget Director Scott Harry. Sen. Aquino focused his questions on the elimination of funding for immigration programs.

“Did he have any conversations with the Trump Administration or the president? There’s no funding for immigration services within the Department of Human Services,” Aquino said. “It seems to be maybe a coincidence- if they haven’t had conversations- that you’re eliminating or potentially eliminating immigrant and refugee services at this time, especially considering what’s going on nationally.”

Responding to Aquino’s questions, Scott Harry said that he did not know whether Governor Rauner had spoken with the Trump Administration and that the reductions in funding for immigration programs “are the same reductions that were introduced in the governor’s fiscal year 2016 budget.”

The governor’s budget proposal does not fund immigrant-focused programs that previous budgets have funded. The governor’s recently proposed budget would eliminate $5.9 million in funding for immigrant integration services as well as $1.5 million for welcoming centers.

“We must fight against Trump's hateful, divisive immigration policy wherever it exists,” Aquino said.