Chicago Palatine Gurdwara Along with other Societies Hosts U.S. Congressional Candidates Town Hall Meeting
Invited Democratic and Republican Leaders to state their campaign positions on immigrant communities
Congress candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi (D)
Palatine,Illinois, 31, 2016
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Sikh Religious Society, Palatine, Illinois, a Chicago suburban Sikh Gurdwara hosted and co-sponsored the immigrant communities suburban candidates Town Hall, a non-partisan candidates forum for the 8th U.S. Congressional District on October 26, 2016 to address immigrant issues in the Chicago suburbs. The Congressional candidates Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) and Pete Dicianni (R) were invited to face the community and state their campaign positions on the issues important to the immigrant communities.
Rajinder Singh Mago, "for Sikhs equality, social justice, and protecting the unprotected are part of our faith."
The general elections are on November 8th, 2016
The immigrant population in the west and northwest suburbs of Chicago is on the rise, with new immigrants often bypassing cities and settling directly in the suburbs.
The forum was attended by more than 100 diverse people despite a historic World Series Baseball game being played between Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians at that time.
The Non-Partisan Forum to understand the candidates policies and positions was sponsored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, Centro de Informacion, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Northern Alliance For Immigrants, South Asian American Policy and Research Institute, and the Sikh Religious Society.
The forum co-sponsoring organizations were coordinated by Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago, and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
The forum was moderated by Rajinder Singh Mago, Public and Media Relations Coordinator, for the Sikh Religious Society.
"When the candidates on television or radio are discussing immigration issues, they are talking about our communities and our lives. This is why these face to face town hall meetings are so important for us," said Rajinder Singh Mago, "for Sikhs equality, social justice, and protecting the unprotected are part of our faith."
Illinois is a state with a large and powerful immigrant population. There are over 1.8 million immigrants including over 500,000 undocumented immigrants, 275,000 of which are in Cook and the collar counties like Du Page, Lake, Kane and others. Undocumented immigrants in Illinois paid more than 700,000,000 in taxes in 2015.
The process of planning this non-partisan town hall series began with a coalition of non-profit, non-partisan immigrant and refugee serving organizations, who wanted to engage both parties candidates on issues that are important to their communities in suburbs.
Immigrant and refugee leaders from Asian American and Latino communities asked the candidates critical questions related to immigration reform, healthcare, the economy, voting rights, women's rights, Gun violence and many more.
Republican candidate Mr. Pete Decianni did not appear at the forum or sent a surrogate. So all the questions were directed to and answered by Raja Krishnamoorthi. It was announced that Mr. Decianni is invited to have a separate town hall with the community.
Tejas Shah representing SAAPRI asked the question about H1-B Employment visas; Jason Cortez a high school student asked about Deportations and Pathway to Citizenship; Irene Sohn from a Korean American organization asked a question about Family Unification visas; Chin from Laotian community asked about refugee and asylees; Jasvir Kaur Singh of Sikh community asked about his (Raja's) position on hate crimes; Adrian Gonzalez asked about Health Coverage Access to undocumented and uninsured; Mario Contreras of Northern Alliance For Immigrants asked a question about rising cost of university education and student debt relief; Bill Davis brought up the gun violence and gun control issue; and Van asked about the voting rights. Few general questions were also asked by the audience at large.
The final question was put up by Aida Palma during the closing ceremonies that if Raja Krishnamoorthi wins this election, will he meet with this group again after he has been in the office 100 days, and the answer was "Yes".
The event ended with fellowship, conversations leading to forming new alliances for common issues, and breaking bread together while partaking Langar (community kitchen meal).
Some of the guests who had never been to a Sikh Gurdwara before observed the Sikh worship service in the congregation hall.