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Pledges Being Gathered to Stop Illinois Immigrant Blame Game

March 10, 2008

Chicago, IL – A "time out" has been called in the debate over immigration. A coalition of grassroots groups has organized a new pledge campaign, in Illinois and other states, to counter misinformation and rhetoric about a topic that has become unnecessarily bitter and heated.

Mehrdad Azemun with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights says he's heard plenty of exaggerations from politicians and media commentators alike, who blame immigrants for everything from crime to urban sprawl. Azemun argues that using immigrants as scapegoats for the country's problems does nothing to solve them.

"They are spreading lies and vitriol about who immigrants are, and the kinds of contributions that immigrants make to this country. We need to work together to achieve justice for the immigrant communities. We need to work together to improve our country, period."

Those who sign the online pledge promise not to exploit immigrants in the labor market, and to call for humane solutions to fix the immigration system. The campaign's critics are concerned its underlying goal is to allow people who are in the U.S. illegally to stay.

The online pledge can be found at Petition sponsors include the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), and the Center for Community Change.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - IL