Lawmakers consider expanding Illinois immigrant protections

Illinois legislators are proposing to boost immigrant protections statewide in response to President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, a move advocates say would essentially give the state “sanctuary” status.

One proposal says schools, medical facilities and places of worship don’t have to give access to federal immigration authorities or local law enforcement working on their behalf. Another proposal would limit cooperation and communication between local police and immigration authorities.

“If there was ever a moment for things to move, it is now when we’re seeing immigrant communities under unprecedented attacks,” said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, a leader of a suburban Chicago immigrant organizing group called PASO.

The legislation’s chances of passage are uncertain. Backers of Trump’s moves say he is just fulfilling promises he made during the campaign, and warn that “sanctuary” cities and states risk losing their federal funding.

Ruiz-Velasco and others said the goal is to extend so-called sanctuary protections already on the books in Chicago and Cook County, where police aren’t allowed to ask about citizenship status and don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Reaction has been divided to a series of immigration-related executive orders signed in Trump’s first days as president, including one designed to allow local law enforcement to investigate, apprehend or detain immigrants living in the country without legal permission. Some states, like Texas, have moved to reinforce Trump’s orders, while lawmakers in California are advancing a statewide sanctuary proposal.

Illinois already has some of the nation’s most immigrant-friendly laws. Advocates are pushing sanctuary ordinances in suburbs like Oak Park. The state’s largest immigrant advocacy group, the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, is pushing city officials to make Chicago’s rules stronger.

Democratic lawmakers say the two statewide proposals are just the beginning of what they want to do. But the extent of any opposition isn’t known.

By Tribune news services for CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Read Full Article HERE

Share this post

Post Comment