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Illinois's New SSI Replacement Program for Refugees and Asylees

An Advocacy Success Story

By Daniel Lesser

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act were particularly harsh for legal immigrants. In 2003 refugees and asylees who had been unable to complete the naturalization process and become U.S. citizens began to lose their Supplemental Security Income benefits. Illinois advocates crafted a state-funded state program to replace the federal benefit this group lost.

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