Immigrant Rights

  • Sen. VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – Legislation to protect immigration status in a civil case passed the Senate Wednesday.

    State Senator Ram Villivalam is the chief sponsor of this initiative.

    “In spite and especially because of what Donald Trump says and does at the national level as it relates to immigrants, SB 1429 cements the fact that the state of Illinois is a welcoming state to all immigrants,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “People are clearly afraid that their immigration status will be used against them should they even make it to a civil proceeding. This legislation will ensure that immigration status remains confidential and cannot be used against them.”

  • aquino 053118SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) praised Attorney General Kwame Raoul for joining a coalition of 22 attorneys general in opposition to the potential deportation of people who hold Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

    “At a time when immigrants are being relentlessly attacked by the President of the United States, I am happy to see that the State of Illinois under Attorney General Raoul will stand up to protect these people,” said Aquino.

    TPS protects individuals whose countries are affected by war, natural disasters and other crises. There are approximately 300,000 people in the United States who hold TPS. The Department of Homeland Security announced in 2017 that it plans to terminate TPS for individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

    “The people who hold Temporary Protected Status fled to the United States due to war, climate disasters, and other tragedies,” said Aquino. “The Department of Homeland Security has made it clear that they are going to carry out the president’s racist agenda and target immigrants of color. We cannot allow this to go on, and I am grateful for Attorney General Raoul’s commitment.”

  • martinez 053018SPRINGFIELD — Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order strengthening the state’s commitment to welcoming immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers:

    “Our country was founded by immigrants who came here looking to build a better life for themselves and their families. We would not be where we are today if it were not for the contributions they made and continue to make to our society.

    “Welcoming immigrants, particularly those fleeing danger like refugees and asylum seekers, is at the core of our American values. Officials at the federal level, including the president, seem to have forgotten that. I’m glad we in Illinois still remember what our country is about.”

  • villivalam 012419 2SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ram Villivalam released the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order protecting immigrant families in Illinois.

    “I commend Gov. Pritzker for prioritizing and raising the voices of immigrant families like mine in Illinois,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “We have a president who constantly spouts anti-immigrant rhetoric, and those who enter this country seeking opportunities for themselves and their family need to know that the people of Illinois are on their side.”

    Executive Order 2019-07 calls for the Department of Human Services to expand access welcoming centers for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. In addition, state agencies are required to inform immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers of their rights and opportunities available to them in the state of Illinois.

  • munoz 052418SPRINGFIELD- Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) commends Gov. JB Pritzker for expressing his commitment to Illinois’ immigrant community.

    The governor signed an executive order on Thursday that strengthens Illinois’ commitment to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

    “Our immigrant communities have been under attack by harmful rhetoric and measures rooted in racism and xenophobia from the White House. We cannot allow families throughout our state to live in fear, and I’m glad to see that our new administration sees the importance of Welcoming Centers along with other resources that help immigrants establish their lives here.”

  • castro 080818SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) issued the following statement today commending Gov. JB Pritzker for his commitment to immigrants, refuges and asylum seekers by expanding their access to welcoming centers.

    “With the current anti-immigrant environment in our country, I am excited to see our governor take strides towards creating a more welcoming atmosphere for our state’s immigrants.”

    “It is important that we inform immigrants about their rights and opportunities in Illinois and I am excited to work further with Gov. Pritzker on long-term immigration reform during this upcoming session.”

  • jjc 053118SPRINGFIELD — As part of an ongoing effort to combat human trafficking, the Illinois Senate voted Wednesday to speed up the process through which victims can get federal immigration relief. The 40-12 Senate vote set aside a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

    Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, the chief sponsor of SB 34, issued the following statement regarding the successful vote to override the governor and protect victims of human trafficking and other heinous crimes.

    “Just as lawmakers have come together to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking, we came together to make sure the existing process works for these victims. This system was created to empower victims to come forward knowing they’ll be protected if they help us bring to justice the people behind these horrible crimes. The veto was a mistake and today we are one step closer to setting the record straight.”

    Background information:

    In 2000, the federal government created special immigration visas for victims of human trafficking and other specific crimes who work with police. The list of crimes includes: abduction and kidnapping, blackmail, female genital mutilation, being held hostage, incest, involuntary servitude, murder, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, slave trade, torture and trafficking.

    Information about the immigration relief offered to these victims by US Citizenship and Immigration Services can be found here:

    https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes

    SB34 — known as the VOICES Act — simply puts a 90-business day deadline on local authorities to wrap up the paperwork required by the federal visa process. The visas and the process already exist. The proposal simply adds a deadline for action. If local authorities don’t believe the person should qualify for a visa, they can state that in the federal paperwork.

    The override effort now moves to the Illinois House. If House members similarly override the veto of SB 34 it becomes law.

     

  • sandoval062218

  • Senate Latino Caucus meets with immigration advocates

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate Latino Caucus members joined Senate President John Cullerton, President Pro Tempore Don Harmon and immigrant and refugee rights advocates this week to discuss the Senate’s recent actions taken to protect immigrant communities.

    “I’m the son of hard-working immigrants, and as an elected official it is my honor and duty to support policies that continue to give the immigrant community the opportunities my family has had in the United States of America,” Latino Caucus Co-Chair Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) said. “Donald Trump is trying to take away these opportunities in the land that I love, but policies like these give hope to our people and show we are a force that can use our sacred legislative process to fight back against bigotry.”

  • martinez 050417SPRINGFIELD — Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to the Illinois Senate passing the Trust Act:

    “There has been real fear and concern in the immigrant community following the election of President Trump. People shouldn’t have to go about their daily lives in fear because of their appearance or the color of their skin. This legislation ensures that parents can drop their children off at school and that people can seek medical attention without being in danger of deportation. I am pleased that Illinois has taken a step to prevent federal overreach and to foster a vital relationship of trust between immigrants and law enforcement in our communities.”

    Senate Bill 31, which creates the Illinois Trust Act:

    • Bars law enforcement agencies in Illinois from engaging in immigration enforcement without a warrant from federal immigration agents.
    • Bars local participation in federal registry programs based on national origin or religion, such as a potential Muslim registry.
    • Establishes safe zones at schools, medical facilities and properties operated by the Illinois Secretary of State, where federal immigration enforcement would not be admitted without a valid criminal warrant.
    • Establishes deadlines for police to complete certification forms that are requested by immigrant victims of violent crimes who cooperate with police. The certifications are among the requirements for immigrant crime victims to apply for certain visas.

    Additionally, the legislation prohibits state and local police from searching, arresting, or detaining a person based solely on citizenship or immigration status or an administrative warrant.

    The measure does not prevent state and local police from conducting valid criminal investigations or serving criminal warrants.

  • castro 050417SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate approved a measure today that limits local police interaction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions, and rebuilds trust between police and immigrant communities. The Trust Act prohibits law enforcement agencies from engaging in immigration enforcement unless a warrant issued by a judge is presented, bans detaining a person based on their immigration status and forbids the use of any state or local resources to help create a federal registry based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes.

    Illinois State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statements following the vote on Senate Bill 31:

    “We should be fostering safe communities where a person’s fear of hostility, or having their families torn apart, does not get in the way of public safety. A person in the shadows often will not come forward to report crimes against themselves or other people because they fear their status may be exposed. When someone’s fear gets in the way of cooperation, our communities become less safe. This legislation gives us the tools to put Illinois on the right track, keep families together and build stronger communities.”

  • aquino 021717SPRINGFIELD – In a recent Senate budget hearing, State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, questioned Illinois State Budget Director Scott Harry. Sen. Aquino focused his questions on the elimination of state funding for immigration programs.

    “Did he have any conversations with the Trump Administration or the president? There’s no funding for immigration services within the Department of Human Services,” Aquino said. “It seems to be maybe a coincidence - if they haven’t had conversations - that you’re eliminating or potentially eliminating immigrant and refugee services at this time, especially considering what’s going on nationally.”

    Responding to Aquino’s questions, Scott Harry said that he did not know whether Governor Rauner had spoken with the Trump Administration and that the reductions in funding for immigration programs “are the same reductions that were introduced in the governor’s fiscal year 2016 budget.”

    The governor’s budget proposal does not fund immigrant-focused programs that previous budgets have funded. The proposal would eliminate $5.9 million in funding for immigrant integration services as well as $1.5 million for welcoming centers.

    “We must fight against Trump's hateful, divisive immigration policy wherever it exists,” Aquino said.

  • biss 012617EVANSTON – Evanston, Chicago and other Illinois cities are doing the right thing in vowing to stand strong against President Donald Trump’s efforts to shame and coerce them for offering sanctuary to immigrants, state Senator Daniel Biss said Thursday.

    “President Trump’s actions this week are further evidence that he lacks a moral compass,” said Biss, an Evanston Democrat, in denouncing the president’s executive order pledging to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities around the nation.

    “I am incredibly proud of Evanston’s record of reassuring immigrants that they are welcome in our community,” he added. “It’s shameful that a local decision now is under attack by a U.S. president who is committed to dividing people rather than bringing them together.”

    Trump signed the executive order Wednesday. Evanston has been a sanctuary city since 2008 but strengthened its local ordinance in November following the presidential election. Chicago has been a sanctuary city since 1985. Cook County also has a sanctuary ordinance.

    It’s unclear how much federal funding could be at stake for more than 300 U.S. sanctuary cities, states and counties as a result of the executive order.

    “President Trump has presented these municipalities with a choice between money and morality,” he said. “We’re going to stand up to his threats and any attempt to strip them of federal funds. But if they do lose federal dollars, at least they can sleep at night knowing they did the right thing.”

  • Martinez04212016CHICAGO — In an effort to ensure immigrants get the services they need, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is headed to Springfield tomorrow to vote for a plan that would help our state’s newest residents.

    “It’s been a year since Illinois stopped funding immigrant services,” Martinez said. “Service providers and immigrants are suffering. We need to do the right thing and get immigrant services funded now.”

    During the budget impasse, Welcoming Centers have closed their doors due to lack of state funding.  Immigration integration services have gone unfunded too.

    Welcoming Centers serve as lifelines to our state’s newest residents by offering classes and providing information on topics such as employment training and home ownership.

    Immigration integration services include language assistance, health care, citizenship services and other basic supports.

    “Immigrants are part of our communities, and we need to have programs and services in place that invest in them and help strengthen the culture and economy of our state,” Martinez said.

    According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, immigrants make up 14 percent of Illinois’ population and 18 percent of the state’s workforce.

    The Senate plan Martinez will vote for tomorrow is designed to get immigrant services and other vital human service programs funded. These programs have been without state aid during the budget impasse.

  • Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero) explains why the word "alien" should be removed from state law and replaced with the word "immigrant."


  • Students, Sandoval want ugly “alien” label out of state law booksCHICAGO – Calling the term “illegal alien” a bigoted label from a bygone era, local high school students and state Senator Martin Sandoval are pushing legislation to replace “alien” with “undocumented immigrant” in Illinois law books.

    “The word ‘alien’ is really offensive. It's not just rude but it dehumanizes undocumented people, and that's not right," said Uriel Hernandez a ninth grader at Solorio Academy High School.

    "All workers, documented or undocumented, pay taxes and do their fair share, so there is no such thing as an "Illegal" person," added fellow ninth grader Delila Lopez.