Proposed Bill Would Make Illinois a ‘Sanctuary State’ for Illegal Immigrants


A legislative committee will discuss a bill Wednesday submitted by a group of Chicago-area lawmakers which would create ‘safe zones’ statewide to protect illegal immigrants.

The bill comes as President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal funds from so-called ‘Sanctuary Cities’ including Chicago. 

‘Safe Zones’ under the proposed legislation would include hospitals, places of worship and schools.   Under the proposed law police will not be forced to cooperate or communicate with federal immigration authorities.

Students say they all just want to feel protected.  “If you don’t have people supporting you or having your back it makes things that much more complicated”, says Oscar Mercado of the Latin American Students Organization at the University of Illinois Springfield.

However, a recent call to make the University of Illinois campuses ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ was rejected by administrators who fear open defiance of federal immigration laws could lead to sanctions including a loss of federal funding.

State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) opposes state legislation on similar grounds, telling the ‘Chicago Tribune’,  “We’re kind of playing a dangerous game.  He (President Trump) is doing absolutely everything he said he was going to do.”

Trump has signed an executive order which would allow local law enforcement to apprehend and detain immigrants in the country illegally, but immigration enforcement is a federal issue, and not a state or local law enforcement one, although some states such as Texas are now considering measures to assist with enforcing federal immigration law.

What the Trump administration appears to be trying to accomplish instead is to insure cooperation between federal and local law enforcement officials when requests are made to detain illegal immigrants who are already in police custody.  The President has said his first immigration enforcement priority would be to deport those who have committed other crimes.

A copy of the bill is included below.

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Immigration Safe Zones Act. Provides that schools, medical treatment and health care facilities, and places of worship may not grant access to State and local law enforcement agencies that have entered into an agreement with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement or undertake other joint efforts with federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies to investigate, detain, or arrest individuals for violation of federal immigration law, unless a court has issued a warrant and appropriate personnel have reviewed that warrant and have consented to access or unless required by law and appropriate personnel have consented. Prohibits employees of elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education from asking about a student’s immigration status or that of the student’s family members, with exceptions. Requires the Department of Human Services to provide training or make training available to teachers, administrators, and other staff of elementary and secondary schools, as well as to medical treatment and health care facilities, on how to deal with immigration issues and how to notify families of those issues in multiple languages. Requires appropriate personnel of a facility to develop a plan to provide assistance, information, and safety to persons who are concerned about the government’s immigration enforcement efforts. Provides for the removal of certain file information by State agencies, public schools, and public institutions of higher education. Contains a severability clause. Effective immediately.
House Sponsors
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch – Ann M. Williams – Elizabeth Hernandez, Kathleen Willis, Gregory Harris, Thaddeus Jones, Silvana Tabares, Kelly M. Cassidy and Theresa Mah

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