Illinois Senate Passes ‘Sanctuary State’ Bill to Hamper Immigration Officers

Sanctuary for all Haven DaleyAP
Haven Daley/AP

The Illinois Senate has passed a bill intended to curtail the powers of federal immigration officials to detain and deport illegal aliens even if they are convicted of a crime. The bill essentially makes Illinois a “sanctuary state.”

The bill, euphemistically called “The Trust Act” (SB31), introduced by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), passed on May 4 in a 29 to 23 vote.

Ignoring the actual crime of entering the U.S. illegally, Cullerton insisted that only people who commit “an actual crime” should be detained by law enforcement officials and insisted that his bill would somehow “improve” the trust between illegals and Illinois officials.

The proposed law would ban local jails from holding illegal aliens without criminal warrants at the behest of federal authorities, prevent federal agents from arresting illegals at schools and state-run hospitals, and ban local government agencies from participating in any federal immigrant or religious registry that might be created. The bill would also give illegals accused of crimes even more protections against federal actions, Patch reported.

Cullerton claimed his bill sends the message “that our immigrant neighbors are in fact part of our community” and will “enhance interaction between the immigrant community and state and local police to improve safety and the quality of life for all Illinoisans.”

“They’re part of our economy, they go to our schools, they’re working, they’re paying taxes. While the federal government is going to determine their status, they’re in our community,” Cullerton added

Senate co-sponsor Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) added that the bill would make illegals feel “safe” in Illinois.

“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. “We want our local police to do what they do best — to be our local police, not federal agents.”

Biss is a long shot candidate for the Democrat nomination to run against sitting Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

Opponents of the bill said it would incite lawlessness in the Democrat-controlled state. Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), a former police officer, said the bill would be a “law to tell law enforcement not to enforce the law.”

Even though the Democrats control the state’s upper chamber by 15 votes, the bill passed with a final tally that fell few short of the number to automatically send it to the House of Representatives for the next leg of the bill’s journey to the governor’s desk. But Democrat leaders used a procedural maneuver to be able to call the bill for a second vote at a later date to give Democrats time to whip a few more “yes” votes to secure its passage to the lower chamber.

The bill would have an impact beyond the illegal alien community and would cost the indebted state millions to implement. According to the Department of Human Services, if made law, the “Trust Act” would cost the state another $5 million to fulfill. This is bad news for Illinois, which is one of the most indebted states in the country. Last year the Metcatus Center ranked Illinois as one of the worst five states in the nation because of its budget crisis.

Illinois joins a host of liberal states — many of which also wallow in a budget crisis — in efforts to thwart federal immigration laws. Along with Illinois states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Mexico, Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland, all have such laws already on the books or are attempting to put such measures into place.

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