On November 20, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order to greatly reduce the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. His order includes an expansion of the deferred action program and various measures to improve employment-based immigration, in an effort to address various problems with our nation’s broken immigration system in light of Congressional deadlock on the issue.
On November 25, 2014, President Obama came to Chicago, his hometown and the home of many immigrants, to deliver a speech to rally support for his executive action on immigration. MMH attorneys Margaret McCormick and Beata Leja were invited to attend his speech. Also in attendance were various immigration reform advocates, Congressional representatives and aides, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.
The President was introduced by Billy Lawless, a vocal immigration reform advocate and Irish immigrant who moved to Chicago in 1998. He has since opened three very successful restaurants and employs over 250 workers, both U.S. citizens and immigrants, and touted that “this is what we immigrants do. We work hard, and we build successful businesses.” President Obama then went on to explain that his executive action is not only beneficial to the immigrants themselves, but that it will also help our economy. He explained that immigration has always given the U.S. an entrepreneurial advantage, and cited a study that found that immigrants and their children start over 40% of Fortune 500 companies.
Additionally, President Obama’s speech at the Copernicus Community Center, a Polish community center on the city’s northwest side, was meant to highlight how his executive action will not only benefit the Latino community, but immigrants from all over the world. He said, “[n]ow, you go to the public schools around here and you got 50, 60, 70 different languages being spoken. From Andersonville to Chinatown; from Devon to Greektown; Pilsen to Ukrainian Village — immigrants have made this city of broad shoulders their home. We are Swedish and Polish and German and Italian. Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”
As immigration attorneys in the richly diverse Chicago area, we know first-hand how much immigrants from various parts of the world contribute to our nation. This Thanksgiving, the attorneys at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. are thankful for President Obama’s vision and bold executive action on immigration. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about the president’s executive action and how it may benefit you or someone you know.
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