- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Democratic politicians gathered at a Chicago high school Saturday to encourage Illinois’ immigrant population to register with the federal government under President Barack Obama’s new executive action on immigration.

Announced Thursday, the executive order would prevent the deportation of about 4 million parents and guardians who lack the same legal status as their children.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez challenged Chicago’s immigrant community to “set the standard” for registration under the act.

“This isn’t complicated,” Gutierrez told several hundred people at Benito Juarez High School. “Every church will be a designated site. Every community college will be a designated site. Every school will be a designated site. Every health care center will be a designated site.”

Gutierrez, a longtime activist for immigration reform, said his goal was to provide training for thousands of people to register millions of immigrants with the federal government.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin echoed Gutierrez and said the president’s action, while historic, is not the last word.

“We want comprehensive immigration reform to reach out with justice to the millions who deserve this opportunity in America,” Durbin said. Durbin, who will be Senate minority whip after Republicans take control of the chamber in January, added that he will work to get an immigration bill on the president’s desk.

Republicans have accused Obama of overstepping his authority. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama, in sidestepping Congress, had damaged his ability to get things done.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights hosted the rally. The organization’s head, Maria Pesquiera, called Obama’s action a benchmark in the fight for the rights of immigrants.

“Millions of people will be able to breathe a little easier knowing they will not be separated from their loved ones,” she said.

Representatives from the Asian-American community leaders said hundreds of thousands of immigrants of Asian heritage will be helped.


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