'Dear Rodney Davis, Where Are You?'
CHAMPAIGN — For Pat Tymchyshyn of Champaign, the ability to immigrate to the United States is a treasured privilege.
"I care about immigrants and worry about them," said the woman whose husband, Roman, immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine after the end of World War II. "Immigrants need to come back and forth for jobs."
Tymchyshyn joined area residents taking part in a letter-writing party Monday at the Champaign Public Library, sponsored by the C-U Immigration Forum.
People sat down at two long tables and wrote letters to their congressman, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, giving their views on immigration issues.
Diana Mosher of Champaign said she wrote Davis expressing opposition to President Donald Trump's executive order on the subject.
"I was really disappointed with the election results in November," Mosher said. "That really turned me into a political activist. I am learning about politics and see how important it is to reach out to Congressman Davis."
Kevin Sandefur traveled from his hometown of St. Joseph to take part in the letter-writing party.
"We need to tell Congressman Davis how the people in his district feel," he said. "I feel that America was built by immigrants, and they are an essential part of our economy today. Discrimination is not the quality we want to be known for as a country."
Sandefur's wife, Laura, called on Davis to hold a face-to-face town hall event in the district — not a "tele-town hall," as he's planning on holding tonight.
"When you stand up in front of the people and say you want this job, there is an obligation that you will interact with those people, whether you agree with them or not," she said.
The C-U Immigration Forum provided the paper, envelopes, stamps and other supplies for the letters. As each participant completed a letter and dropped it into a box at the library, a bell was rung.
"Immigration and how we treat people who visit our country is very important to me," said Karen Medina of Champaign. "Rodney Davis has not done a very good job of representing his constituents. I would like him to speak out against what President Trump has done with his executive orders banning Muslims from certain countries. I think that's unconstitutional."
"This immigration ban strikes at everything that this country has stood for for an awfully long time," said Frank Chadwick of Rantoul. "It is clearly a religious-based ban. It is based on fear and setting people against other people."
Bernadette Easley of Champaign expressed concern that Trump's proposal to build a wall will draw a damaging divide between the U.S. and Mexico.
"I am opposed to the wall, but I am really opposed to deporting people for non-security reasons," she said.