Immigrant, refugee services get left behind in Illinois' budget impasseDonald Trump’s efforts to stop immigration from several countries have prompted outrage across the country. Meanwhile, Governor Bruce Rauner has quietly gone about eliminating all funding for immigrant services in Illinois. Affected programs include funding for health screenings, job training and integration services.

“Now more than ever, immigrants and refugees coming into our state need comprehensive services to ensure they are able to successfully integrate into our society and become productive residents,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “Continued cuts that target the most vulnerable among us will do nothing but threaten the future stability of the state.”

Refugee Social Services, which provided health screenings and vaccinations for newly-arriving refugees, received $204,000 in Fiscal Year 2015 but received no funding for Fiscal Year 2016 and has yet to receive any funding for Fiscal Year 2017.

Comprehensive service centers, known as Welcoming Centers, assist newly-arrived immigrants and refugees by providing services and information on issues surrounding health, social, educational, employment, rehabilitation and homeownership. Welcoming Centers did not receive state funding in Fiscal Year 2016 and has only just started receiving funding for Fiscal Year 2017.

“We can do better, and we must do better to put an end to this budget impasse once and for all,” Hutchinson said. “The price of inaction is too high.”

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