Durkin Demmer legislation supports Ukrainian refugees

The war being waged by expansionist Russia on Ukraine has led two Illinois lawmakers to introduce bills that would impose sanctions on Russia and support Ukrainian refugees fleeing their war-torn homeland.

Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer sponsored, HB 5702 and HB 5703, legislation that would provide additional funding to aid in the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees. As Ukraine continues to defend its boundaries from Russian assault, hundreds of thousands of refugees are making their way to Europe and the United States. Demmer wants to make sure that Illinois is well equipped to provide necessary services to Ukrainians who are displaced by the Russian invasion.

“In this dark and dangerous moment, it is crucial that we stand strongly and unequivocally with the people of Ukraine and offer every tool at our disposal to provide aid to refugees who flee from the invasion of their sovereign nation,” said Demmer.

The funds provided in Demmer’s legislation would ensure the availability of mental health, counseling and orientation services, as well as English classes, vocational training, job readiness, and job placement assistance for Ukrainian refugees.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin’s legislation shows support for Ukraine in a different way by prohibiting the state from doing business with Russia. HB 5704 prevents the state from investing public funds in any investment instrument that is based in or tied to Russia. HB 5705 requires the state's five pension funds to divest from any holdings in Russian companies.

Both legislators believe it is important to send a strong message to the Ukrainian people that Illinois stands with them.

Additionally, Durkin called for bipartisan support of the legislation, Ukraine and the refugees. “…[T]his is an opportunity for us to stand up as a bipartisan body and do what is right to support the Ukrainian people in the face of unimaginable hardship."