Maria Valdez – Elgin Coalition for Immigrant Rights 

Maria Valdez, Grant Manager

At the Elgin Coalition for Immigrant Rights, many of us have experienced or currently face the struggle of being undocumented or have been in community with someone who is. Our mission is to provide resources to have an empowered, informed community that defends and protects undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation.  

Elgin is home to over 25,000 foreign born individuals, many of whom are undocumented. While our city’s stance on this issue is one of being welcoming, the reality is that undocumented immigrants still face a lack of access to key resources, particularly when it comes to legal protections in the case of being detained by the police or ICE.  

Among the myriad of struggles immigrants face, family separation through detention or deportation is a determinant factor in family stability. We aim to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation through our Rapid Response Team and by providing Know Your Rights (KYR) workshops at no cost to the community.  

Our Rapid Response Team’s ability to quickly mobilize when there is ICE activity in our neighborhoods has allowed us to come in direct contact with undocumented workers who needed guidance and resources in the case of being detained by ICE. Through our KYR workshops, we have been able to inform the community on how to proactively prepare their family with information ranging from legal rights to the documentation needed in case of being detained or deported. 

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