The Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project (SSIP) was founded in 2010 by immigrant residents in the Northern Will County/Southern DuPage County area.
Wishing to add their voices to the nationwide push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, they organized three buses of community members for an advocacy trip to Washington D.C. in March of that year. Upon their return, more community members added themselves to the cause looking for an opportunity for empowerment. They faced, however, resistance from local governments and congressional leaders that kept voting in favor of anti-immigrant policies, resulting in detentions & deportations, family separations, barriers to higher education for undocumented students, and fear of law enforcement, schools, and other local institutions. It was concluded that the issue at hand was a community that was not ready nor willing to welcome immigrants. In response, SSIP was born, with the mission to build immigrant power in the suburbs through initiatives on education, civic engagement and advocacy.
Since then, SSIP has been a key player in successful statewide campaigns such as the Illinois Dream Act in 2011, Temporary Visitor Drivers Licenses for undocumented immigrants in 2013, and preventing the construction of private detention centers in Crete, IL in 2011, and Joliet, IL in 2013. SSIP has built and implemented programs in the suburbs to educate and empower immigrant residents, such as the Parent Mentor Program (PMP), the New Americans Initiative (NAI), the Community Navigators Program, and the Mariachi Matters Program (MM).