About Representative Lilian Jiménez
Lilian Jiménez is a native of Chicago. She is an attorney and advocate with extensive experience in government services, community organizing and policies promoting the rights of immigrants and communities of color. She was raised by an undocumented mother from Mexico who was a grassroots community leader and a father who migrated from rural Puerto Rico with his family to Chicago in search of manufacturing work. Lilian has dedicated her career to supporting working class families and advocating for the rights of low-wage workers, immigrants and underinvested Black and Brown communities.
Lilian attended DePaul University on a scholarship for inner city youth and majored in Latin American/Latino Studies and Political Science.
Immediately after graduating, Lilian began working at UNITE!/Workers United and led leadership development programs in West Town, Humboldt Park and Logan Square. Lilian also provided citizenship assistance through Erie Neighborhood House and Association House of Chicago and was active in organizing the mega marches to oppose national laws that would have made it a crime to provide aid to undocumented immigrants and further criminalize immigrants. Lilian later took on a role at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) to learn how to develop policies to support low wage and immigrant communities. During this same time, Lilian’s mother was placed in deportation proceedings after having lived in the U.S. since the age of 14. At this pivotal moment, Lilian became motivated to enroll in law school to learn skills to defend her mother and her community.
Lilian graduated from DePaul University College of Law in 2011. Upon graduating, Lilian led the Fair Labor Standards Division of the Illinois Department of Labor from 2012 - 2015 where she collaborated with worker advocacy organizations to increase fines for labor violations and instituted the first ever U-visa program to assist immigrant victims of workplace abuse. She served as the Chief of Staff for Jesus “Chuy” García at the Cook County Board from 2015-2018 where she worked to pass minimum wage and paid sick leave legislation. After practicing immigration law in a community based setting, Lilian went on to lead the Illinois Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services from 2019-2022, where she worked with community partners to distribute 200 million in grants to nonprofits throughout Illinois, including creating and implementing direct rental and mortgage assistance, worker protection trainings and peer to peer health navigator programs (promotoras de salud) during the COVID crisis and 20 million in direct cash assistance programs targeted to immigrants and limited English Language populations. Acting as the State Refugee Coordinator she led the resettlement of 2,500 Afghans, 20,000 Ukrainians and 4,000 asylum seekers in Illinois.
In November 2022, Lilian was elected to represent the 4th District, including West Town, Ukrainian Village, Humboldt Park, West Humboldt Park, and parts of Hermosa, Logan Square and Belmont Cragin. In her first term as a state representative, Lilian was appointed as the Vice Chair of the Housing Committee and elected to serve as the Secretary of the Progressive Caucus and the Treasurer of the Latinx Caucus. Her policy focuses in her first term are expanding worker protections, combating displacement, supporting community wealth building initiatives and ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share in Illinois.