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Veto override will combat human trafficking, protect victims from deportation

Voices Act

The Illinois Senate took steps to combat human trafficking Wednesday by voting to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Voices Act. The bill would empower immigrant trafficking victims to come forward by protecting them from deportation if they help bring to justice the people behind these human trafficking rings.

“These traffickers prey on underprivileged women and children, taking advantage of their fear of law enforcement to subject them to unthinkable atrocities,” State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) said. “The Voices Act is an effort to fight back and go after the real criminals – human traffickers.”

Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) joined members of the Senate in overriding the veto of legislation that helps human trafficking and crime victims obtain visa certification paperwork from law enforcement within 90 business days. Munoz released the following statement after the vote:

“As rhetoric from the White House continues to instill fear in our immigrant communities, we want to continue encouraging victims of human trafficking and other severe crimes to work with law enforcement. I’m glad we were able to move this legislation forward and hope to see it enacted into law.”

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement:

“The governor’s veto was an ill-advised, knee-jerk response to the word ‘immigrant’ becoming politically charged over the last several months. This is a commonsense piece of legislation that simply expedites a process already in place to assist victims of terrible crimes like kidnapping, rape and human trafficking. I am glad we were able to put partisan politics aside today and override the governor’s veto, hopefully creating a speedier path to safety for those who come to our country fleeing unimaginable circumstances.”

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

“This legislation should have been easy for any governor to sign. What it does is simple – it helps people who are fleeing violence and human trafficking get to a safe place. Beyond that, it helps our law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute those crimes by empowering victims to work with police. Everyone deserves justice, no matter their skin color or their immigration status. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and I am glad we were able to override the governor’s politically motivated veto.”

State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) released the following statement after the vote:

“Victims of human trafficking and other severe crimes need our support as they help capture from those committing crimes against them and escape terrible situations. This legislation creates a process that ensures they have the documentation necessary to request a visa and encourages them to work with law enforcement. I encourage my colleagues in the House to approve this measure.”