by Megan Jones, Editor-in-Chief
Janet Delgado and Chris Gonzalez, seniors, have spent the last two months with pledge cards and voting on their minds as they traveled from house to house canvassing for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR,) a non-profit organization that focuses on the rights of immigrants.
Not many students can say that they have spent their fall months trying to make a difference in the Hispanic and Latino community.
“We have to use our wording in a very specific way or people assume things,” Gonzalez said.
After receiving an invitation from Zio Gil, ‘09 graduate, Delgado and Gonzalez attended an informational meeting about ICIRR. Other WHS members also became involved as they attended Dream Relief Day, an event at Navy Pier to help complete applications for deferred action.
The major policies canvassing focused on was to help Latino families register to vote and to get them to sign a petition for the Driver’s License Act of 2012.
“I always thought that if people were eligible to vote, they would,” Delgado said. “But when we went up to people, many of them didn’t even have it in the back of their mind, so being able to convince them and seeing them realize they can make a difference was a really good feeling.”
They typically spent two hours a day canvassing around the Wheeling and Prospect Heights neighborhoods. Delgado also canvassed with her sister, Adilene Delgado, ’10 graduate, and Maria Marin, ‘11 graduate.
ICIRR does not represent any political parties. According to Gonzalez, many support the driver’s license petition, and they hope to receive support from Carol Sente, 59th district representative.
“On her roster she states she is pro-immigrant, but when it comes to immigration laws, she always votes against them,” Delgado said. “We are trying to get her to see how much Hispanic and Latino support we have and how many are eligible to vote, which means they won’t vote for her if she doesn’t start voting ‘yes’ on immigrant laws.”
Delgado feels the act would help many families financially and emotionally.
“I know a lot of families that get deported for things like traffic violations, and that would eliminate those problems,” Delgado said.