BissTrust665An effort to foster trust between Illinois police agencies and immigrants who live in the state passed out of the state Senate Thursday.

Local police should have to do the federal government’s job, and immigrants should not have to live in fear of local police, Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) said regarding Senate Bill 31, which would create the Illinois Trust Act. The measure passed in a vote of 31-21 and will move to the House for consideration.

“In these uncertain times, we should do everything we can to assure people that we want them to feel welcome and safe in their surroundings and secure in going to the police when they have information about criminal activity,” Biss said. “And we want our local police to do what they do best – to be our local police, not federal agents.”

The Illinois Trust Act is based on the premise that 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. The act 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 would it bar them from working with federal immigration agents to serve valid warrants.
Evanston has been a sanctuary city where all people are welcome since 2008.

“I am proud to live in a diverse community and a diverse state,” Biss said. “Voting for this measure was a no-brainer. We have to take a stand against hateful, divisive rhetoric and defend those who are too scared or weak to defend themselves.”

 

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