Illinois State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) has launched a biting new ad against incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner that brings the “sanctuary state” issue to the fore in the Republican primary.
Now, Rauner’s signature on that bill is coming back to haunt him.
Ives’s new TV ad focuses on the murder of Denny McCann, who was run down by an illegal alien in June of 2011.
The ad introduces the victim’s brother, Brian McCann, who recalls that Denny was run down by an illegal alien named Saul Chavez, who was driving drunk. Denny was dragged for nearly a city block and died a violent death, Brian says.
Unfortunately, Saul Chavez absconded back to Mexico and escaped punishment for murdering McCann.
The Ives campaign points out that the prosecution of Chavez “didn’t happen in the sanctuary county of Cook.”
“And, thanks to Governor Bruce Rauner, it now won’t happen in the sanctuary state of Illinois,” the campaign said in a Friday press release.
“Rauner stands with illegal immigrant criminals,” Ives said in the press release. “McCann stands with Jeanne Ives because she stands for the rule of law and with the families of victims like the McCanns.”
The Rauner camp disputes the claim that his signature on the 2017 “Illinois Trust Act” makes the state a sanctuary state, because it does not in all cases completely forbid police departments from working with federal authorities on the detention and deportation of illegal aliens. Local police departments will still be allowed to cooperate with federal authorities when a federal judge has issued an arrest warrant.
“Illinois has been welcoming of immigrants for a long time, and this bill will continue that tradition,” Rauner said in a statement issued last August when he signed the bill into law. “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, the bill prohibits law enforcement from arresting an illegal alien based solely on his or her violation of immigration laws. It also prevents local officials from alerting federal authorities when an illegal alien has been detained and prevents law enforcement officials from even inquiring if a suspect has legal status. The bill essentially makes Illinois a sanctuary for illegals except in the case of the issuance of a federal warrant.
Federal officials also criticized the law.
“As the Attorney General has said, when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe,” DOJ spokesman Devin O’Malley told Fox News last year. “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.”
Gov. Rauner also touted the bill as “bipartisan” when he signed it into law. However, only six of the state’s Republicans crossed the aisle to support the bill, and many of those six were already retiring from their offices.
Indeed, a group of six Republicans launched a counter-bill to repeal the governor’s law after it was signed.
On Sunday, the Ives campaign released an extended version of the ad online, in which Bruce McCann says: “Governor Rauner should not remain in office.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.