* From Senate President John Cullerton…
Illinois offered newfound security to immigrants on Monday, spelling out in a new law that state and local police shouldn’t double as immigration agents and encouraging immigrants to report crimes without fear of reprisals for their immigrant status.
The Trust Act (SB31) was sponsored by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and ultimately won legislative approval and the support of law enforcement groups this spring session. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed his name to it on Monday, making it the law in Illinois. Cullerton applauded everyone involved in seeing this new law through.
“An immigrant woman who’s been victimized shouldn’t have to think twice about reporting that crime. She deserves justice as much as anyone else in our society. At the same time, police need her report to effectively track down violent criminals and protect all of us. This law reminds us that we’re all in this together and we need to be able to work together and trust one another,” said Cullerton.
Specifically, under the new law, state and local police cannot arrest or detain someone on the basis of immigration status alone. This prohibition does not apply if there is a valid judicial warrant. Similarly, state and local police are prohibited from arresting or detaining someone based on what’s known as an “immigration detainer,” which is a civil document issued by an immigration agent, not a criminal warrant issued by a judge and supported by probable cause.
Across the country, there have been news accounts of crimes going unreported in immigrant communities because victims fear they will end up arrested for lacking immigration documents if they report the crimes. The proposal Cullerton sponsored and the governor signed is designed to foster trust between police and immigrant communities and refocus resources on fighting priority crimes.
“The immigrant community has always been a vibrant part of our state’s story and a vital part of our economy today. Everyone deserves safety and security,” said Cullerton.
“If someone is going to be detained in Illinois it 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. The Trust Act reinforces the message that our immigrant neighbors are part of our community. It is my hope that this new law will enhance interaction between the immigrant community and state and local police to improve safety and the quality of life for all Illinoisans,” Cullerton said.
* Cullerton was a bit snarkier at the bill signing today…
For a raging opinion in dissent that doesn’t actually address the contents of the legislation, click here. For raw audio of today’s bill signing event, click here.
More press release will be posted on our live coverage post.