Immigration ‘Safe Zones’ Bill Headed For Vote

CHICAGO, IL — A new Senate bill to protect undocumented immigrants in Illinois is up for a vote this week.

Along with a similar bill in the House, the new laws would provide new requirements and restrictions for state and local law enforcement officers in Illinois.
The Senate version is scheduled for a Wednesday hearing in the Executive Committee, while the House version awaits a hearing in the rules committee.
Known as the Illinois Trust Act, the legislation would stop law enforcement officers from enforcing federal immigration detention requests or cooperating with federal immigration agents who have not obtained a criminal warrant.

It also restricts federal immigration agents from searching inside state-supported medical or educational facilities for immigrants by creating “safe zones” around such locations.

Further, no officers from local agencies would be allowed to be deputized by federal authorities in the course of an investigation without getting a warrant.

The Trust Act would also prohibit any state government entities from participating in any future registry based on immigration status, religion or ethnicity. President Trump advocated for a database of Muslim immigrants during his 2016 campaign, although no such registry exists.

More practically, the bill would solve a problem that does exist by requiring police properly certify when crime victims and witnesses cooperate with an investigation.

Under federal law, immigrants who are witnesses or victims of certain crimes can apply for special temporary visas. Applications for these visas require one of the law enforcement agencies with which the immigrant is cooperating to provide documentation.

Fred Tsao, Senior Policy Counsel of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), said many police and prosecutors do not fill out the paperwork to help those that are helping them.

By Jonah Meadows for Chicago Patch
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