DREAM Act NowCHICAGO- The Illinois Senate Latino Caucus joins the outcry of many throughout the nation in urging congress to pass the DREAM Act before the holiday break. Advocates for immigrant rights believe that this may be the last chance for Congress to extend lawful immigration status to those brought to the United States as children.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protected young immigrants from deportation was rescinded by the Trump administration in September, putting the futures of hundreds of thousands of people nationwide at stake. More than 40,000 Dreamers reside in Illinois.

The Senate Latino Caucus members released the following statements:

“Trump is trying to make young people, who have lived much of their lives in this country and in this state, leave a place that has become their home. Washington needs to do what is right and take action now before it is too late,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

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hb2462SPRINGFIELD – Needless bureaucratic hurdles are slowing ethics investigations and need to be removed, state Senator Cristina Castro said in filing legislation to streamline the process.

“We have a skilled investigator on the job. We need to empower her to do that job and deliver results quickly,” said Castro, an Elgin Democrat and the newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Here’s the problem with the current system.

When an ethics complaint is filed regarding lawmakers or legislative employees, the Legislative Inspector General cannot review the complaint until it first goes to the Ethics Commission and is approved for an investigation. This bureaucratic step can delay the start of investigation by weeks if not months.

Castro’s proposal simply removes the hurdle and gives the inspector general the authority to begin reviewing cases as they are filed.

“This unnecessary step is only delaying the inspector general from doing her job,” said Castro. “Getting rid of it will speed up the process and deliver faster results, which is what the public wants and expects. It is important that we make it as easy as possible for the inspector General to get to work as soon as possible on these time-sensitive issues.”

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04272017AM5221SPRINGFIELD – Despite legislation passed by both the Illinois House and Senate this week, there is still much to be done to fight sexual harassment in Springfield. Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), the newest appointed member of the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission, urged the governor to act quickly today.

“The newly appointed Inspector General and the Legislative Ethics Commission have work to do and we cannot get started with investigations until the governor signs these bills,” Castro said. “I am asking Governor Rauner to do so quickly so we can get to work as soon as possible on this time-sensitive issue.”

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05192017CM0079SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) isn’t afraid of tackling the big problems our state government is facing. Being one of the newest Senators and recently appointed to the Legislative Ethics Commission, she is hoping to bring fresh ideas break the code of silence that has gone on too long.

Senate Bill 402, which passed this week and was co-sponsored by Castro, amends the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act by putting penalties in place for sexual harassment and provide training for sexual harassment prevention. This training will be required annually and the Legislative Ethics Commission will be responsible for sharing the procedure on reporting violations.

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