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Senate helps crime victims, overrides governor’s veto

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.

 

Sen. President Cullerton

6th Senate District
President of the Senate
(Retired)

Years served: 1979 - 1991 (House); 1991 - 2020 (Senate)

Committee assignments: Committee of the Whole; Executive.

Biography: Attorney; born Oct. 28, 1948, in Chicago; B.A., political science, Loyola University; J.D., Loyola University Law School; served in Illinois National Guard, 1970-76; former Assistant Public Defender and instructor at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy; married (wife, Pamela), has five children.

Associated Representatives:
Sara Feigenholtz
Ann M. Williams