Schneider And Former Senator Mark Kirk Working Together To Relaunch The Abuelitas Program

Government and Politics

December 2, 2022

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill.—Today, Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) announced his partnership with former Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) to relaunch the popular Abuelitas (grandmothers) program. Then-Representative Kirk launched the program around 2005 tohelp families navigate the complex visa process so their elderly relatives living in Mexico whom they hadn’t seen in many years could obtain short-term tourism visas to reunite with family in the Tenth District of Illinois. Upon his election to the Senate, Kirk expanded the Abuelitas program statewide, helping thousands of loved ones see each other again.

Kirk and Schneider began discussing the popular and successful program this year, and Schneider’s team has been collaborating with the former Senator, Mexican social clubs, and other valued partners to update and relaunch the program.

“My grandparents were profound influences in my life. The love and support we receive from our family members are unlike anything else—they help us grow, support our dreams and aspirations, and teach us the many traditions that we hold special in our cultures,” said Congressman Schneider. “Family is a value that we can all support, regardless of political affiliation. That’s why I’m proud to work with former Senator Kirk to help Mexican American families in my district navigate the complex and often expensive visa application process to reconnect with their loved ones from Mexico, many of whom they haven’t seen in as many as ten to twenty years.”

“Many of our friends and neighbors who migrated from Mexico had been separated from their loved ones for decades, which is why we started the Abuelitas program to facilitate the process of bringing grandparents together with their children and grandchildren,” said Senator Kirk. “During my service in the Congress, it was an honor to share in the emotional reunification of families through the Abuelitas program. I applaud Congressman Schneider for relaunching the Abuelitas program and continuing its positive legacy of reconnecting families in the 10th District with their loved ones in Mexico.”

By partnering with the American Embassy in Mexico, local Mexican governments, and Mexican social clubs such as the Club San Jose in Waukegan, the Abuelitas program will help elderly family members aged 55+ in Guanajuato, Mexico obtain short-term tourism visas at no cost to reunite with loved ones in the Tenth Congressional District as long as they commit to return to Mexico as required by the visas. More details on the Abuelitas program are to come.