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2022 Virtual Forum

Collaboration to Build
Welcoming Communities

May 17, 2022
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Our annual immigrant formums are interactive gatherings of non-profits, philanthropists, educators, businesses, and government to discuss collaborative solutions to advance an equitable future for immigrants and refugees in the suburbs.

Structural barriers must be addressed in order to ensure that all immigrants and refugees have equitable access to the supports, resources, and services they need, including education, food, health care, high-quality jobs, housing, and more.  This year's forum takes a look at the needs and resources of aging immigrants in our communities.

Thank You

We would like to thank everyone who joined this year's virtual forum!  Without your active interest, committment, and participation, it would not have been as successful as it was.  We would also like to extend our appreciation to Governor JB Pritzker for taking the time out of his busy schedule to provide us with opening remarks and to our guest speakers Rob Paral of Rob Paral and Associates and Fred Tsao of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).

Guest speaker presentations can be downloaded below.  A copy of the forum's chat transcript and a recording of the session can be accessed from the "Additional Resources" section below.

Opening Remarks


The Honorable JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker (Democrat) was sworn in as the 43rd Governor of Illinois on Jan. 14, 2019. After taking the oath of office, Governor Pritzker accomplished one of the most ambitious and consequential legislative agendas in state history.  

Governor Pritzker has been a strong leader in expanding opportunities and protections for noncitizens in Illinois, including extending eligibility for Medicaid, providing state-based student financial aid for noncitizens regardless of their documentation status, requiring local officials to end partnerships with ICE, and creating the Welcome Illinois Office to coordinate, develop and implement policies and practices to make Illinois a more welcoming and equitable state for immigrants and refugees.

Guest Speakers


Rob Paral

Rob Paral is a demographic and public policy consultant with specialties in immigrant, Latino and Asian populations; community needs for health and human service programs; and Midwestern demographic change.

As Principal of Rob Paral and Associates, Rob has assisted more than 100 different human service, advocacy and philanthropic organizations in understanding the communities they are trying to serve.  He works with large-scale data and geographic information systems to develop insight into community assets and needs. 

Rob Paral is a Research Specialist with the Great Cities Institute of the University of Illinois at Chicago and a nonresident fellow in the Global Cities program of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  He was the Senior Research Associate of the Washington, DC office of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and was Research Director of the Latino Institute of Chicago.  He has been a fellow or adjunct of the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame University, DePaul University Sociology Department, and the American Immigration Council in Washington, DC.  More information may be found at


Fred Tsao

Fred Tsao is the Senior Policy Counsel at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.  In this position, he provides technical support, trainings, and presentations on immigration-related topics to service providers, immigrant community organizations, and others who work with immigrants. He also provides updates and analysis of changes in immigration policies and procedures to ICIRR members and allies, and assists with the coalition's legislative advocacy efforts. A self-described “recovering attorney,” Fred practiced law at the Rockford office of Prairie State Legal Services, where he worked after receiving his law degree from the University of Michigan. He has also worked with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the

Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation, and the Missouri Public Interest Research Group. A native of Chicago, Fred is the son of immigrants from China, and has had a lifelong concern with immigration issues.

What to Expect

Legislative Update

Fred Tsao will be providing an update on the spring legislative session and federal changes as they relate to immigrants and refugees, including changes to public charge.

Topic for Discussion

Rob Paral will be discussing his paper, A Collaborative Report on the Aging Undocumented Population of Illinois, a copy of which can be downloaded below.  The report explores how the undocumented population in Illinois will continue to grow by 2020, and it discusses the implications of the data.  Following Mr. Paral's presentation, participants will breakout into small groups doe discuss various questions or concerns relating to the presentation topic.

Breakout Discussion Questions

Small breakout groups will use "Jamboard" discuss the following questions:

  • What surprised you or stood out to you from Rob's presentation?

  • What are the needs of aging immigrants in your community?

  • What resources does your community have available to serve or benefit aging immigrants?

    • What resources are missing?

    • What is needed from a system level to reduce barriers?

  • Share what you are doing to serve aging immigrants.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Healthcare Coverage for Immigrants Age 55+

Enrollment is open for healthcare coverage for immigrants who are age 55 and older.  To learn more including how it works, who qualifies, how to apply and how to acess help to enroll, download a fact sheet below.

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