Republicans Push to Counter Illinois Sanctuary State Law
Chicago won’t be the only sanctuary city in Illinois after Governor Bruce Rauner’s latest move.
Rauner has signed a bill that halts state enforcement officers from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status and limits state law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration agents.
SB 31, signed on August 28, allows state law enforcement officers to protect illegal immigrants by not notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that they are in custody.
Although Rauner referred to the bill, known as the “Trust Act,” as “bipartisan,” only six Republicans voted to pass it. Many of which that are now retired.
“The Illinois TRUST Act — a bill that was passed by the state’s General Assembly in May — bans local law enforcement from stopping, arresting, searching or detaining anyone based solely on immigration status. More controversially, it bars local officials from detaining anyone solely on the basis of a federal immigration detainer, unless federal officials have a criminal warrant,” writes Fox News. “The governor’s office and other supporters say the law does not constitute a “sanctuary” policy; one provision makes clear that the TRUST Act does not prohibit communication between federal and local officials.”
Rauner believes that offering protection to illegal immigrants in Illinois is in the best interest of the state’s law enforcement efforts.
“Illinois has been welcoming of immigrants for a long time, and this bill will continue that tradition,” said Rauner in a statement last week. “It also makes clear that stopping violent crime will be law enforcement’s mission rather than working on federal prerogatives that a federal court has found illegal.”
However, several Trump administration officials and Illinois law makers see the new bill as a “sanctuary” measure that actually makes the state and the nation much less safe.
“As the Attorney General has said, when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe,” said Devin O’Malley, the Department of Justice spokesman to Fox News. “Failure to deport aliens who are convicted for criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk – especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.”
Six other Republicans in Illinois are trying to reverse the bill. According to the Illinois Review, Republicans John Cabello (R-Rockford) and David McSweeney (R-Barrington) filed the repeal bill last Thursday.
“I swore to uphold the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions when I became a legislator,” said Cabello to the Illinois Review. “As a member of law enforcement, I took a vow to uphold the law. I believe and trust in those oaths, and intend to do all I can to keep them.”
Republican Reps. C.J. Davidsmeyer and David Reis also filed a similar bill in the state senate.
It has been since 1977 since a governor has enacted a statewide policy. California and other states are considering introducing a similar bill.
“There are currently an estimated 200 to 608 local and state governments with some sort of sanctuary policy in place, though they vary. Some work with federal authorities on felony convictions while others only comply in civil investigations,” writes Fox News. “California and New York currently have pending legislation that would prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities. Maryland’s legislature was debating a similar bill this year, but it failed in the House in April.”
Some lawmakers are concerned that the new Illinois bill may start a sanctuary state movement.
“I said this could be the last straw, and every day I’m feeling it worse,” said Kyle McCarter to the Chicago Tribune. “And this isn’t just the ‘right wing’ that’s angry. These are union members too, loyal union men trying to protect American jobs, and the last thing they need to see is a Republican governor making Illinois a sanctuary state.”
This is the latest counter move by Rauner in defiance of the Trump administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly condemned Chicago for its sanctuary city policies and attributes the city’s high crime rates to these policies.
Author’s note: The governor passing SB 31 isn’t surprising since Rauner has betrayed his conservative base by signing bills supporting abortion and sanctuary policies in the past. Unfortunately, repealing the Trust Act will likely be unsuccessful. Democrats have the majority in both the Illinois House and Senate. Both are dominated by a liberal contingent from Chicago. But there is bound to be some pushback from the Trump administration and perhaps some massive federal funding will be taken away in response.
Editor’s note: Unfortunately Illinois must suffer the consequences of having a heavily liberal Chicago area.