Accomplishments / Victorias
- Passage of Driver Licenses for All Legislation: P.A.S.O. worked with a coalition of organizations and in partnership with the IL Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to pass the Driver Licenses for All legislation, ensuring that undocumented drivers can now drive without the fear of being stopped and deported simply for coming home from work or picking up their kids from school. Over a period of six months, P.A.S.O. organized in the Western suburbs, training and developing seventy leaders, organizing five lobby visits to Springfield to educate legislators about the importance of legislation and organizing hundreds of calls into legislative offices. Through this work, P.A.S.O. ensured the votes of two Senators and three state representatives, as well as helped move eleven Republican votes in support. This bipartisan victory marks the first time in thirteen years such legislation is passed in the country!
- Prevented opening of strip club next to convent: P.A.S.O. worked with the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles and community residents from Stone Park (a community of 5,000) to prevent a strip club slated to open next to the Sister’s convent in a residential area. Local community organizing efforts brought together community members and the community of faith, leading to national and local media attention to this issue, a vigil with over five hundred people protesting against this establishment (the largest in history locally) and over three thousand petitions against the strip club. A year later, this place has yet to open.
- Passage of IL DREAM Act for undocumented students: P.A.S.O and Nuestra Voz Youth Council were 2 of the lead organizations working in passing the IL Dream Act in collaboration with partner community organizations, faith institutions and universities. P.A.S.O. organized 179 parents and students who travelled to the state capitol in Springfield to educate legislators about the importance of this Act. Through these efforts, P.A.S.O. obtained the sponsorship from 5 local senators and state representatives in support. The IL DREAM Act was signed by Gov. Quinn on May 2011.
- Blocked expansion of “Secure Communities” program in IL: P.A.S.O. worked with the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights to block the expansion of the federal program called “Secure Communities” that has been responsible for the deportations of thousands of people. P.A.S.O. leaders met with key elected officials to educate them on the impact of “Secure Communities” in our community. In May 2011, Gov. Quinn announced Illinois would no longer participate in this program. IL was the first state in the nation to take such step.
- Passage of Cook County ICE Detainer Ordinance: In 2011, P.A.S.O. members worked in support of the passage of the Cook County ICE Detainer Ordinance introduced by Cook County Comm. Jesus Garcia, which blocks cooperation between ICE and county jails. On September 26, 2011 Cook County President Tony Preckwinkle signed the ordinance at St. Pius Parish where P.A.S.O. leaders participated.
- Fight for Immigration Reform and DREAM Act: In 2010, P.A.S.O. organized four buses, with two hundred local community residents traveling to Washington DC to join 250,000 people in a national mobilization to bring pressure for immigration reform. Locally, P.A.S.O. members have continuously worked to bring light to the inhumanity and impact deportations have on families. In 2010, P.A.S.O. co-organized an overnight vigil and direct action at the Broadview Detention Center to bring light to the 1,100 deportations per day by the current administration and on Mother’s Day 2011, organized a march led by children from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church to the Broadview Detention Center. Over 300 parents and families came together to bring attention to the impact of deportations on families in our community, especially the separation of mothers from their children.
- Educating and empowering community: P.A.S.O.’s leaders launched a Know Your Rights Campaign to educate community members through presentations in churches, schools and households. Over twenty P.A.S.O. leaders have been trained using the popular education model and since then have talked to over 450 community residents and provided vital information to families who had relatives detained for deportation.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION:
• P.A.S.O. has made an impact in civic engagement, ensuring immigrant community members have access to effective integration. In 2010, we established our citizenship program through the New Americans Initiative, a partnership with the IL Dept. of Human Services and the IL Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Since then, we have outreached 2,600 local residents through our citizenship program, and assisted over 1,200 applicants begin the citizenship process completely free of charge.
• Through P.A.S.O.’s non-partisan voter engagement project, we’ve registered 4,163 new voters, focusing on new citizens and children of immigrants, and ran Get out the Vote operations on Election Day, effectively increasing the voter turnout in targeted high density precincts. These campaigns have been in coordination with legislative campaigns, including the Driver Licenses for All in 2012 and the national campaign for immigration reform in 2010, to develop political empowerment in the Latino and immigrant communities and raise the importance of issues crucial to these communities.
• In 2010, P.A.S.O. members ran a targeted door-to-door outreach campaign in Melrose Park with trained bilingual volunteers to inform community members about the importance of participating in the Census. In a three-month period, P.A.S.O. contacted 1,490 households about Census and trained over 40 bilingual volunteers from the community to conduct direct outreach.
• In 2011, P.A.S.O. worked in partnership with the Latino Agenda and the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (U.C.C.R.O) to ensure the creation of new legislative district boundaries that protect the voting rights of Latino residents and strengthen their political representation. P.A.S.O. worked to draw a minority-majority map for the 77th legislative district that encompassed both Leyden and Proviso Townships, which have had a significant increase in Latino residents. P.A.S.O. members also testified in Springfield in support of the maps presented by the coalition of forty-nine organizations. As a result of our collective work, the new minority-majority legislative district map for the Leyden and Proviso area was passed by the legislature, along with five other majority-minority district maps in Chicago and suburbs.