NHCSL Tour Picture rPHOENIX, AZ – Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) joined Congressman Rubén Gallego (AZ-07) and Members of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) who gathered in Phoenix to call attention to the latest facts on the ground related to family separation resulting from the Trump Administration’s so-called “zero tolerance policy” at the southern border. More than 30 Latino state lawmakers from across the country, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico came to Arizona for NHCSL’s bi-annual Executive Committee meeting earlier this month.

“I am proud to join my colleagues from across the nation in renewing our call for immediate family reunification and an end to the senseless ‘zero tolerance’ policy that has separated innocent children from their families. The family separation crisis is not over and after seeing conditions on the ground, I will go back to my state capitol and redouble efforts so that our state government ensures it is doing all it can to guarantee the safety of the children who are being detained in these facilities,” Martinez said.

During their stay in Phoenix, the legislators visited the Southwest Key child detention center and held meetings with local stakeholders working on family reunification efforts. Gallego and NHCSL members also highlighted proposed actions that need to be taken to guarantee family reunification happens in the most expedited and appropriate manner while also securing the safety of the children and families involved.

Martinez added that: “Family separation is not just a federal issue. These children are housed in facilities certified by our states and local governments and we have an oversight duty to perform. There are many actions we can take at the state and local levels to address this situation, including: providing funding so that these children have access to legal services, making sure detention facilities comply with state and local standards, and providing English Language Learners (ELL) educational services.”

Members of NHCSL’s Executive Committee also held a discussion with the Consul General of Gutaemala in Phoenix, Ambassador Oscar Padilla, and the Consul of Mexico in Phoenix, Ambassador Claudia Franco, who are working tirelessly to address the myriad of challenges these separated children face. During the session, consular officials provided key details of their interactions with the children, detention centers, the government and the community at large.

“I will not rest until our state and local governments do all we can to ensure the safety and security of innocent children whose lives have been upended and are in limbo. Some of the facilities apparently are not in bad conditions. However, even if these children were staying at a Five Star hotel, the point is that they should not have ever been separated from their parents and should not be detained as if they were criminals. This country is supposed to stand for liberty, hope and human rights. Together with my NHCSL colleagues from both sides of the aisle, we will continue to speak out and act so that this situation is resolved and never happens again in our nation,” Martinez said.

Legislators also met yesterday with advocates who are providing critical support services to the kids who are held in these detention facilities. Representatives from the ACLU of Arizona, the Florence Project, the Young Center and Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest shared their experiences in attempting to fill the gaps in the chaos that has been wrought by the cruel family separation policy enacted by the Trump Administration.

Category: News Releases

martinez2014c rCHICAGO — Former Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez has accepted a new leadership position as assistant majority leader of the Illinois Senate, an elevated role that will enable her to continue drawing attention to important issues while serving her district and the people of Illinois with energy and passion.

“I am honored and humbled to accept this leadership role,” said Martinez, who in 2002 became the first Hispanic woman elected to the Illinois Senate. “I look forward to continuing to use my position as a senator and a leader to work for my constituents and all citizens of Illinois.”

Martinez, a Chicago Democrat, was appointed to the leadership role by Senate President John Cullerton.

She served as assistant majority leader from 2007 to 2008 and was named majority caucus whip in 2013.

As a state senator, Martinez has advocated for affordable housing, expanded health care access and proper care for seniors and the disabled. She is a tireless champion of programs that improve the quality of education in Illinois, and she uses her involvement with the Latino Legislative Caucus to advocate for minorities and immigrants.

Category: News Releases

041310br0098 rSPRINGFIELD — Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement after Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address:

“The governor’s proposed budget will disproportionately harm low-income, minority and immigrant communities through deep cuts to programs like childcare assistance, addiction prevention and treatment services, immigrant integration services and welcoming centers.

With these communities already under attack from the federal government, I would hope that our governor would stand up for the most vulnerable among us. I am once again disappointed that he did not.”

Category: News Releases

On Wednesday, March 28 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, I will be participating in an LGBT Town Hall Meeting with my colleagues Senator Omar Aquino and State Representative Will Guzzardi. Please join us for this Town Hall, organized by Equality Illinois and ALMA, as we aim to engage residents in a conversation on the current state of the LGBTQ community in Illinois and the ongoing issues to work on.

Alma flyer

Category: News Releases

Office Information

Springfield Office:
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District Office:
2921 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
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