President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill.
A number of prominent members of the Illinois Congressional delegation are headed to Washington, D.C. to attend President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address. And, as to help emphasize on what they see as the need for comprehensive immigration reform, each is bringing an immigration reform advocate to be their guest.
Among the dignitaries and invitees to the Jan. 28 speech will be U.S. Representatives Luis Gutiérrez (IL-4), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Bill Foster (IL-11). The president is expected to make immigration reform, considered a top priority for his second term agenda, a highlight of the speech.
“The State of the Union helps lay the road map and set the priorities for the upcoming year," Reps. Gutiérrez, Quigley, Schakowsky, Schneider and Foster said together in a statement. "This year, we joined together to invite people whose stories illustrate the importance of immigration reform and to make clear that passing comprehensive immigration reform should be at the top of the to-do list.”
Guitierrez invited Rev. Tony Suarez, National Vice President of Chapters for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Accompanying Schakowsky will be Rudy Lopez, a senior organizer in Chicago for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Schneider and Foster each will bring Estafania Garcia and Maria Torres, immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and distinguished themselves through high academic achievement and giving of themselves to their communities.
For his part, Rep. Quigley has asked Ameya Pawar, Chicago alderman from the 47th Ward. The son of Indian immigrants and the city’s first Asian-American alderman, Pawar’s parents came to the U.S. to pursue a better life for their family. Today, the Pawar children are serving as an alderman, a doctor of physical therapy and an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force.
"It's an incredible honor to attend and to have been asked by Congressman Quigley,” Pawar told Ward Room. “Just as important, I'm honored to go and support the Illinois delegations efforts to move a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2014."