CHICAGO – On Wednesday night, a group of immigrants from Venezuela arrived in Chicago after they were “shipped out” on buses by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Regarding this matter, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) welcomes the newcomers, highlights local resources, and disavows Abbott’s decision to use human lives as political currency for personal gain.

“I am proud that my state, Illinois, and my city, Chicago, continue to be the most welcoming places in the nation to our immigrant siblings. We welcome the newcomers as we work to deploy resources to support them in both the immediate and long term.

“My community already took action. Chicago is the soul of our nation, a place built by the strength and contributions of people from all corners of the globe. A temporary shelter was staffed through the night by trusted partners including Rincon Family Services, Family Focus, and Onward Neighborhood House who support immigrants year-round through state funded Welcoming Centers. Many other local partners are mobilizing to ensure we can offer resources they need to settle and thrive in our community.

“Also, I condemn Abbott’s lack of humanity with his approach to immigration. Our actions and/or the lack thereof reflect upon one’s character. The Governor of Texas has clearly failed this test.

“Instead of using refugees as political pawns, our city and state choose to respond to our challenges with compassion and humanity, not cruelty. I commit to working with my colleagues to create opportunities for the new residents of Illinois ensuring prosperity is accessible to all people.”

Category: Press Releases

05302021CM0250SPRINGFIELD – As an advocate for more affordable higher education, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas is excited that federal student loans are expected to be forgiven for people facing the most economic hardship.

“With rising tuition prices, many students from low and middle income families have no other choice but to borrow if they want to pursue a degree, and are receiving less federal support relative to the cost of education,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “Together, this makes it difficult to make monthly loan payments while also paying their regular bills. I am grateful that President Biden’s plan attempts to mitigate this burden on our hardworking students.”

Last week, President Biden announced his plan to address student debt, which includes cutting monthly payments in half for undergraduate loans, modifying the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to provide credit to borrowers who have worked at a nonprofit, military, or in federal, state, tribal, or local government, and protecting future students by reducing the cost of college.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in loan relief to borrowers with loans held by the department whose individual income is less than $125,000 and who received a Pell Grant.  Nearly every Pell Grant recipient came from a family that made less than $60,000 a year, and Pell Grant recipients typically experience more challenges repaying their debt than other borrowers. Borrowers who meet those income standards but did not receive a Pell Grant in college can receive up to $10,000 in loan relief.

Pacione-Zayas is hopeful that this plan will be transformative for those struggling with student debt, acknowledging this is an issue so many are facing as the cost of higher education continues to rise.

“As someone who is still paying back student loans, I know firsthand the challenges of balancing supporting a family and saving for the future when you have student debt,” Pacione-Zayas said. ““It is a struggle so many of us face. I am thrilled that some relief is on the way, especially for folks with limited access to economic resources.”

For more information and to sign up to be notified for when relief is available, click here.

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO –To help individuals enroll in health care following a law expanding health care access, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas and other local officials are hosting an enrollment event to answer questions about eligibility and offer assistance.

“Before this expansion, many people in my community were unable to access safe, affordable health care, which was detrimental to their physical health and quality of life,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am thrilled that Medicaid-like health care coverage is now accessible to all folks who qualify under the poverty guidelines, regardless of immigration status, because healthcare is and should be treated as a basic human right.”

Thanks to a new law supported by Senator Pacione-Zayas, HBIA, or Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults, enrollment is now available to anyone in Illinois age 42 or older who earns under 138 percent of the federal poverty guideline—regardless of immigration status. This measure will have an enormous impact on many immigrant families who have struggled to access health care in the past, or even avoided necessary treatment because of their immigration status or financial resources. Sen. Pacione-Zayas is looking forward to how this initiative will improve health care access for families in her community.

“In a medical crisis, the last thing folks should have to worry about is if they should risk not seeking medical attention because the costs are too high—they should only have to worry about getting themselves or their loved ones better,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This law is the first step to making health care more financially accessible. I look forward to seeing the impact on this enrollment drive in my community, and making sure families can focus on nursing their loved ones back to health instead of how they can afford to pay for health care out-of-pocket.”

The health care enrollment event will take place on Aug. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Northeastern University’s El Centro campus. Attendees should also bring their identification, proof of income, and proof of household size.

Walk-in appointments will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability. However, those wishing to attend the event are strongly encouraged to make an appointment in advance by calling 312-620-7592.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Building upon the smart infrastructure investments supported by Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced an investment of $219.6 million in road and bridge improvement projects. Sen. Pacione-Zayas looks forward to the investment’s impact on roadways in her community.

“Our infrastructure is essential to keeping our community connected and ensuring people can commute to work safely,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “We need to continue to improve our state’s aging infrastructure by making our roadways more accessible for commuters and maintain high standards of safety.”

As part of IDOT’s latest Multi-Year Plan under Rebuild Illinois, the district Pacione-Zayas represents will see 26 infrastructure projects totaling more than $219.6 million over the next six years.

Some of the vital projects coming to the area include:

  • Bridge restoration and pavement maintenance on I-94, I-90, and the Kennedy Expressway
  • Rehabilitation of expressway lane on Kennedy Expressway

These projects are part of IDOT’s multi-year plan, a $34.6 billion investment in construction projects for the next six fiscal years.  

The $34.6 billion will go to highway reconstruction and preservation, bridge improvements, strategic expansion, system support such as engineering and land acquisition, and safety and system modernizations. Over six years, the funding will be dispersed to improve more than 2,500 miles of roads and nearly 10 million square feet of bridges.

“This investment will be transformative for our communities, and will keep our economy moving forward,” Pacione-Zayas said.  “I am eager to see the results of this investment in the coming months and years.”

To find a full list of projects slated for the 20th Senate District, visit IDOT’s website.

Category: Press Releases

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