Kirk Teams Up With Local Mexican Social Groups, Launches 40th Abuelitas Program

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Abuelitas
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CHICAGO – Abuelitas, a family-reuniting initiative conceived by United States Senator

Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), recently launched its 40th program, bringing 48 grandparents from Mexico to reunite them with estranged family members in northern Illinois.

The Abuelitas Program was established in December 2005 as part of a coordinated effort between Sen. Kirk and local Mexican Social Clubs to help senior citizens in Mexico obtain 30-day travel visas for the purpose of visiting their American relatives. Without the Abuelitas Program, grandparents like those who arrived in time for Mothers’ Day would not be able to travel to Illinois to see their children and grandchildren.

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Several of the abuelitas were able to embrace their American sons and daughters for the first time in over a decade and, in several cases, were able to meet their grandchildren and great grandchildren for the first time ever. The fact that these reunions were made possible in time for Mothers’ Day made them all the more heartwarming.

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“Abuelitas is extremely important for the Latin American community,” Sen. Kirk said. “Family is the strength of Latino culture and reuniting grandparents and older relatives with the younger generations is critical for the development of those children.”

Thanks to the Abuelitas Program, over 1,300 people have been reunited with their Illinois relatives. The State of Illinois is home to over 1.5 million citizens of Mexican descent. With this in mind, Senator Kirk has committed himself to working with local Mexican Social Clubs, including theTonatico, La Luz, and San Jose Social Clubs, to expand Abuelitas, increase program frequency, and provide program opportunities in more areas throughout the state. Senator Kirk has recently increased program frequency and expanded program opportunities to new communities in Illinois. 

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