"Thousands of Polish immigrants have come to Illinois over the last
few decades and contributed to the success and rich diversity of our
state. It's very important that we recognize the contributions
Poland has made to Illinois and to the United States, by forming
long-lasting relationships which will help benefit our citizens,"
Blagojevich said. "This agreement will strengthen our economic links
and foster opportunities for the people of Illinois and the people
of Poland. My thanks and appreciation to President Kaczynski for
once again coming to Chicago, and I look forward to continue
developing a lasting and mutually beneficial friendship,"
The agreement signed Tuesday, called the "Declaration of the
Establishment of a Partner Relationship between the Republic of
Poland and the State of Illinois," encourages Illinois to cooperate
with Poland in trade and commerce, science and technology, culture
and education, sports and health, and other fields of interest to
both countries. The signing of this agreement seeks the mutual
understanding, friendship, and beneficial economic and cultural
cooperation between the people of Poland and Illinois.
Kaczynski was sworn into office as the president of the republic
of Poland on Dec. 23, 2005. Lech Kaczynski and his twin brother,
Polish Prime Minister Yaroslaw Kaczynski, are the founding members
of the Law and Justice Party in Poland. In the 1970s President
Kaczynski was active in the democratic anti-Communist movement in
Poland. He also served as an adviser to Lech Walesa and the
Solidarity movement. The president and his wife, Maria, have one
During his last visit to Chicago, in 2006, Kaczynski met with
Blagojevich at an event in Grant Park. Kaczynski's visit to Chicago
this week comes during his four-day official visit to the United
States. With close to 1 million Polish Americans, Chicago boasts the
largest Polish population outside of Warsaw.
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Since 2003, Blagojevich has taken several executive and legislative
steps to help and protect hardworking Polish immigrants, including:
Launching the All
Kids program, which will make Illinois the first state in the
nation to provide comprehensive, affordable health insurance to
all of the state's uninsured children, including children of
Blagojevich signed the "New Americans Executive Order," a
landmark initiative helping immigrants and their host
communities by creating an office to coordinate policies and
programs to help newcomers fully assimilate to the state,
provide more and better services to the growing number of
immigrants living in Illinois, and study the impact of
immigration policy on the state.
Signing into law a
bill that makes Illinois the most aggressive state in the nation
in regard to protecting day laborers and going after unlawful
day and temporary labor agencies that cheat workers of their
hard-earned pay and leave them unprotected at work.
Launching the New
Americans Initiative, aimed at helping thousands of eligible
permanent residents become naturalized U.S. citizens. The
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is
administering the initiative, a $3-million-a-year partnership
with the state.
Signing into law a
bill that allows for undocumented immigrants to attend public
universities in Illinois at in-state tuition rates.
Signing into law a bill that protects
immigrants from abuse by unlawful notary publics who
misrepresent themselves as immigration lawyers and charge
excessive fees for their services.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]