State Senate approves bill stopping local police from making immigration arrests

May 05, 2017

The Illinois Senate took the first steps toward a measure that would stop local police from arresting people based on their immigration status.

SB 31, also known as the Illinois Trust Act, would make sure that “a law enforcement agency or official shall not detain or continue to detain any individual solely on the basis of any immigration detainer or administrative warrant.” The bill passed Thursday by a 31-21 vote in the Senate and will go before the House. One member voted present.

The Chicago Tribune reports, the bill gained wide support from Democrats who worry about the immigration crackdown under President Donald Trump. Many of the senators expressed concern that without this bill, immigrants might be subject to racial profiling.

The Daily Northwestern reports the bill’s main sponsor, Senate President John Cullerton, said local officers have enough on their minds without having to comply with federal immigration officers.

“If someone is going to be detained in Illinois is should be because an actual crime has occurred, not because of how they look, what they believe or what paperwork they may or may not have,” Cullerton said after the vote.

However, some Republicans remain wary of the bill.

“I just didn’t want to lose the irony of the moment that we’re going to pass a law to tell law enforcement no to enforce the law,” said Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), according to the Tribune.

Reboot Illinois has reported on the relationship between Illinois’ local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Earlier this year, Cook County was deemed uncooperative by ICE for being noncompliant with “detainers” — requests from ICE to detain suspects up to 48 hours after they have posted bail or served their sentence.

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s office has called it a shaming list. The county board voted to be noncompliant with ICE detainer requests until the federal government agrees to reimburse the county for the costs associated with the action.

DHS said the Declined Detainer Outcome reports were going to be released on a bi-weekly basis as part of President Trump’s executive order on immigration. However, it appears the department has stopped releasing reports after releasing three from Jan. 28 to Feb. 17.

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