Responding to President Donald Trump border policies he dubbed “wrong for America” and “wrong for Illinois,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday moved to strengthen Illinois’ immigration laws — signing bills designed to protect the children of undocumented residents.
The new laws would create a pathway for citizenship for undocumented children who have experienced trauma and extend legal guardianship for children whose parents have been detained.
They are the latest in a series of immigration bills the Democratic governor has signed, prompting Pritzker to vow “the state of Illinois stands as a firewall against Donald Trump’s attacks on our immigrant communities.”
Pritzker signed the measures the same day that protesters lined the Marriott Marquis Chicago in Chicago as the hotel hosted a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conference.
It was also Day One of a new Trump Administration policy that will fast-track deportation regulations to include the removal of undocumented immigrants who can’t prove they have been in the country for two years or more.
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“In our state, parents will decide who will take care of their children if they are detained or deported, not ICE, customs or border patrol,” said State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz D-Glenview.
The Gad Hill Center in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood provides services for immigrant families.
Months ago, it began collecting information from parents about their chosen guardian for their children in case families were separated.
“We have in our records the name, driver’s license and every identification necessary in order to make sure that the children have somebody safe to go to in case families are separated by deportation,” said the center’s CEO, Maricela Garcia.
* Public Radio…
“We have an obligation to protect children regardless of their immigration status,” said state Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin.
State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, a Glenview Democrat, said it’s a response to the Trump Administration’s immigration policies.
“This is about giving families peace of mind. And while it may not stop the deportation and detention of every parent, it’s certainly a better option for children than a mylar blanket on a concrete floor,” she said. […]
Earlier this year, Pritzker signed off on laws banning private immigrant detention facilities in Illinois, and prohibiting state and local police from assisting federal immigration agents in removing undocumented people.
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“As long as Washington [D.C.] is dominated by a philosophy that threatens Illinois families, we can and we will give parents the dignity of knowing their children are in trusted hands,” Pritzker said.
HB 836 ensures a parent in the country illegally can entrust a guardian to make medical decisions and enroll a child in school, among other activities, the governor’s office said. The measure would also give the courts discretion to grant guardianship of a minor whose parent can’t be reached due to an administrative separation.
State Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, said Illinois can’t even manage its current caseload at the Department of Children and Family Services.
“We can’t even get our foster care situation under control and we’re going to sit here and pretend that we’re going to take care of these children until these things get straightened out with their parents,” Bailey said.
DCFS isn’t even mentioned in the new law. Neither is foster care.
…Adding… From comments…
Rep Bailey has it backwards. If the parents cannot name a guardian, the case defaults to DCFS.
Pritzker also denied that Trump is helping his re-election chances by fomenting racial divisions.
“It’s not working for his re-election,” Pritzker said. “I have called him out as a xenophobe, as a racist. I believe that he is. He’s going to continue to do this. This. This is the world that we live in. We’re fighting hard to hold back the efforts of his government of his White House to foment this kind of racism around the nation.”