Illinois Trust Act aims to protect immigrants

Leah Hope Image
Monday, April 3, 2017
Proposed Illinois Trust Act would protect immigrants
A bill designed to protect immigrants in Illinois will be up for a vote this well.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A bill designed to protect immigrants in Illinois will be up for a vote this week in Springfield.

The Illinois Trust Act would prevent state law enforcement agencies in assisting in immigration actions unless there's a warrant. It would also offer protections for places like schools and other safe havens.

Recent high-profile immigration cases have caused concern for some families throughout the state. The proposed legislation is designed to ease some of those concerns and ultimately lead to better cooperation between law enforcement and immigrant communities.

"People are panicked, especially when a family member is in detention," said Luis Heurta-Silva, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

The ICIRR offers a support hotline, and calls have spiked twice in the past few months: the day after the presidential election and last week, when ICE agents targeted a family in Belmont Cragin and shot one man in the arm.

"It's actually about a 300 percent spike, just within the last week," Huerta-Silva said.

ICIRR hosted a press conference Monday with several organizations representing different ethnicities, regions and cultures.

"I want you to feel angry about the man families that have already been torn apart," said Zubeda Yasin, Indo-American Center.

"Women are afraid of going to the law enforcement because of the experience back at home with the law enforcement," said Fauzia Mohammad, Apna Ghar Inc.

The seek protection for immigrants with the proposed Illinois Trust Act.

"It's a comprehensive piece of welcoming, pro-immigrant, inclusive legislation intended to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our community," said Lawrence Benito, ICIRR.

The Trust Act would bar federal agents from schools and health facilities, bar a federal registry based on origin or religion, help immigrant crime victims seek legal protection and bar local law enforcement from engaging in immigration enforcement.

"This plan encourages a smart and rational use of limited resources within the scope of their responsibility," said Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.

The Trust Act will be voted on by a senate committee Wednesday, and could make it to a full senate later in April.

Click here for more information on ICIRR and future citizenship workshops.