Immigration

  • Sen. Don HarmonState Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) joined advocates at a press conference yesterday to voice his support for legislation that would prevent local law enforcement officers from taking part in immigration enforcement.

    The Keep Illinois Families Together Act would give immigrants and their families the confidence to report crimes to police officers without fear of being deported.

    “I represent people back home in my district who are scared,” Harmon said. “The toxicity coming out of Washington D.C. is horrible. We should take steps locally to tell the people we represent: ‘we’re sorry you’re scared. We’re going to try to do whatever we can to make you a little bit less scared today.’”

  • 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.”

  • ICE 031219SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) is condemning a decision by Dwight, Illinois village trustees to annex 88 acres of land to host a potential Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigrant detention facility.

    “It is disgusting that the village trustees value construction jobs over the human rights of immigrants,” said Aquino. “ICE has consistently violated human rights to carry out the president’s racist agenda of deporting immigrants of color, and they are not welcome to carry out that agenda in my state.”

     

    ICE is looking to build a $20 million detention facility near Illinois 17 and Interstate 55. Village trustees voted 5-2 to annex the property there and have been in talks with ICE to facilitate the construction of the site.

    Several hundred individuals in Central Illinois protested the consideration of the facility and the Dwight Village Board meeting erupted with anger as village trustees voted in favor of construction.

    “I drive by the proposed location every time I come to Springfield, and I will not tolerate watching the construction of a place that is set out to violate the human rights of my friends and neighbors,” said Aquino. “The State of Illinois needs to stand with immigrants and prevent the atrocities that ICE commits from happening in our own back yard. The State of Illinois must prevent the construction of this facility at all costs.”

    Many people, including children under 10, have died while in ICE custody due to poor conditions and abuse. Over 1,000 people in detention have reported sexual abuse by ICE officers.

  • martinez 040517SPRINGFIELD — After legislation that would protect immigrants and restore trust between immigrant communities and local police was passed by the Illinois Senate Executive Committee today, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “Here in Illinois, we need to lead the way in promoting trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement and protecting immigrants from federal overreach. That’s why moving this initiative forward today was positive. I want the immigrant community to know that I have their back and will continue fighting so that no one is deported when seeking medical treatment at the hospital or dropping their kids off at school.”

    Martinez is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 31, which would create the Illinois Trust Act. Certain components of the measure are listed below:

    • Clarifies that state and local police are not deputized immigration agents and therefore are not expected to expend resources enforcing or complying with federal civil immigration detainers and administrative warrants.
    • Prohibits law enforcement agencies from using state resources to create discriminatory federal registries based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes.
    • Establishes safe zones at schools, medical facilities, courts and properties operated by the Illinois secretary of state, where federal immigration enforcement would not be admitted without a valid criminal warrant.

    The Illinois Trust Act will have to be approved by the Illinois Senate before being considered by the Illinois House.

  • Sen. Iris Y MartinezCHICAGO — In response to a report that undocumented immigrants who have been victims of domestic violence aren’t showing up to court because they fear deportation, Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

    “It breaks my heart to see women victimized twice, once when they suffered domestic violence and then when they refuse to report their perpetrators for fear of being deported thanks to President Trump’s immigration policies.

  • aquino 022217SPRINGFIELD – Shocked at the governor’s push to eliminate immigration services, State Sen. Omar Aquino’s first questions at a recent Senate budget hearing were to inquire whether the Rauner administration had coordinated the immigration cuts with the Trump White House.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget director didn’t know if his boss had talked to Trump about the agenda, but he did remind Aquino and other Senators that this wasn’t the first time Rauner had publicly proposed eliminating state assistance for immigrants.

    “These reductions are the same reductions that were introduced in the governor’s fiscal year 2016 budget,” said Rauner Budget Director Scott Harry.

    Aquino said the hearing was a reminder that Rauner has been pushing an anti-immigrant agenda since well before Trump got elected and took office.

    “Maybe it’s Trump who’s taking his anti-immigrant cues from Rauner. This might explain Gov. Rauner’s silence while immigrants were being detained at O’Hare,” Aquino said after the budget hearing. “So much for the governor who said he was going to make Illinois compassionate and competitive.”

    Specifically, Rauner’s budget eliminates $5.9 million for immigrant integration services and wipes out the $1.5 million for welcoming centers intended to be the point of contact for immigrants arriving in Illinois.

    This is not the first time that Gov. Rauner has clashed with advocates for humane immigration policy. In 2015, along with then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Rauner released a statement in which he announced that he would suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state.

  • 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.

  • martinez 021617SPRINGFIELD — Today, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is expressing her anger with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed cuts to programs that are vital to immigrants.

    “Governor Rauner and President Trump have the same agenda of harming immigrants,” Martinez said. “It’s sad that the governor unveiled a budget yesterday that would eliminate services designed to help immigrants make contributions to Illinois’ economy and culture.”

    The governor’s proposed budget would eliminate funding for immigrant integration services and welcoming centers. In all three of his budgets he has proposed eliminating funding for these programs.

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

    “I’m appalled by the governor’s lack of support for our state’s newest residents,” Martinez said. “Governor Rauner and President Trump’s policies demonstrate why it’s so important to support immigrants. Today and every day, I wholeheartedly support efforts to honor our immigrants and invest in their future.”

    The governor gave his budget address one day before A Day Without Immigrants, which occurs today and is a day of action designed to honor immigrants and push back against Trump’s immigration policies. Pro-immigrant groups and activists will be highlighting the importance of immigrants.

  • martinez sos 012517SPRINGFIELD — Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address in which he did not address President Trump’s immigration plans:

    “It’s unfortunate that Governor Rauner did not use his State of the State address to stand up for the residents of our state who will be hurt by the president’s action on immigration.

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  • harmon 033117CHICAGO – Immigrants in Illinois should be able to pick up their children from school or go to the hospital without fear of arrest, and state and local police officers should be assured they’re not expected to enforce federal immigration laws.

    That’s the thrust of a proposal co-sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) that could be heard in the Senate Executive Committee next week.

    “This legislation sends an important message about Illinois – about who we are and the principles we hold dear in this state of 12.8 million diverse people,” said Harmon, who is among the state lawmakers and supporters who will appear at a news conference Monday morning at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights office in Chicago to promote the measure.

    Senate Bill 31 creates the Illinois Trust Act, which would:

    • clarify that state and local police are not deputized immigration agents and therefore are not expected to expend resources enforcing or complying with federal civil immigration detainers and administrative warrants;
    • prohibit state and local police from searching, arresting or detaining a person based solely on citizenship or immigration status or an administrative warrant;
    • prohibit law enforcement agencies from using state resources to create discriminatory federal registries based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes; and
    • establish 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.

    The measure also would establish 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.

    The act would not bar state and local police from conducting valid criminal investigations or serving criminal warrants, nor does it bar them from working with federal immigration agents to serve valid warrants.

    Harmon noted that many of his constituents support policies to protect immigrants and local authorities from overreach by the federal government. For example, the Oak Park village board in February unanimously passed a “welcoming ordinance” that bars Oak Park authorities from collaborating with federal immigration officials to identify and apprehend undocumented citizens without a criminal warrant.

    “It is important that undocumented immigrants are able to talk with local police officers to report and help solve crimes without fear of being deported. We want all people to be able to pick up their children from school or seek medical help without being terrified that someone will ask them their immigration status and turn them over to government officials,” Harmon said. “That’s what this bill helps to accomplish, and that’s why it has broad support, including from law enforcement groups.

    “Fearful immigrants are withdrawing into the shadows because of the Trump administration’s dangerous policies,” he continued. “State lawmakers can help to restore trust between immigrants and the local authorities who are there to help and protect them, not round them up and detain them on behalf of the president of the United States.”