November 19, 2019
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Rebecca Shi, Executive Director

Rebecca Shi

As Illinois Business Immigration Coalition's executive director, Rebecca Shi works directly with a steering committee of 79 Illinois-based CEOs, University presidents, chambers of commerce and immigrant advocates to develop and implement strategy that support the passage of federal immigration reform. IBIC has been extraordinarily effective in moving the politics of the state, winning public bipartisan support from the majority of Illinois's Congressional delegation for commonsense immigration reform. IBIC has helped to launch a sister coalition in Florida, IMPAC FUND.

In 2013, Rebecca led the passage of Illinois SB 957 - temporary visitors driver's licenses (TVDL) with bipartisan support from the Illinois General Assembly. Signed by Governor Quinn and continued under Governor Rauner, the program has licensed and insured over 270,000 undocumented immigrant drivers in Illinois making the roads safer for all, protecting hardworking immigrant families, and injecting $30 million new dollars to the state each year. Rebecca also led the successful passage of "AllKids HB3756" to provide health coverage for all low income Illinois children regardless of their immigration status and the Illinois Trust Act SB 31 to enable local law enforcement to focus on community safety and not immigration enforcement in 2017. Rebecca worked closely with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council to strengthen its Sanctuary City ordinance by providing $1.3 million in public funds to assist immigrants in legal defense and family protection. Rebecca is skilled at building broad coalition of business, labor, faith, law enforcement, government and immigrant leaders to achieve practical immigration solutions that grows the economy, creates jobs, and protects hardworking immigrant families.

Rebecca's organizing work in Chicago's Chinatown community has led to an award winning new library, a new field house, a new district and the first Asian American representative in Illinois legislature. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Rebecca was named a “20 in Their 20s” by Crain’s Chicago Business, and a "Community Leader" by the Asian American Coalition of Chicago, Rebecca's work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Crain's Business Chicago, CNN, POLITICO, NYTimes, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, and other press outlets. Rebecca is an Edgar Fellow, serves on the board of Alivio Medical Center and UIC Asian American advisory board.

Irakere Picon, Director of Legal Services


Irakere Picon is the Director of Legal Services for the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC). Prior to joining IBIC, Irakere worked with the National Immigrant Justice Center's Legal Protection Fund providing free legal services to low-income immigrant clients, the Community Activism and Law Alliance, and the Chicago Law and Education Foundation. 

Irakere earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D. from Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) College of Law. While in law school, Irakere interned with NIU’s Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic, LAF, and competed in national moot court competitions. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois.

James O'Neill, Director of Suburban Outreach

James O'

James O'Neill is the Director of Suburban Outreach for the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC). Prior to holding this position, he worked as an intern at IBIC in the summer of 2017. During the summer of 2018, he spent several months shadowing caseworkers in Congressman Lipinski's (IL-3) district offices. 

James earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College at Michigan State University, with a minor in STEPPs (Science, Technology, Environment and Public Policy). At Michigan State, James was involved in student organizations to help register voters, and held several leadership positions in the Marching Band and Pep Band.

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