Why we support the “immigration bill”

Don’t believe a lot of what you’re hearing about the Illinois Trust Act, which Governor Rauner will sign into law Monday (SB 31 HA3).

It will not make Illinois a “sanctuary state.” Not even close, despite what some critics and headlines are saying. So don’t worry, it’s not happening. We are pleased that Governor Rauner will sign the bill next Monday.

There are solid, rational reasons the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police supports the bill.  What does the bill do and not do? The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition explains it well:

What the Illinois Trust Act does:

  • State and local police would not [stop,] arrest or hold a person based solely on immigration status.
  • State and local police honor ICE detainers sanctioned by a judge.
  • State and local police are allowed to communicate with federal agents​, and fully compliant with federal statutory requirements.

What it does not do:

  • SB 31 does NOT create “safe” zones such as hospitals and schools
  • SB 31 does NOT create “sanctuary” state or municipalities
  • SB 31 does NOT prohibit law enforcement communications with federal agents

According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the bill was crafted and championed by the Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois, a broad coalition of community, labor and policy organizations largely led by immigrant community members. This coalition engaged more 85 organizations and 14,000 individuals throughout the state in education and advocacy events from trips to Springfield, rallies, press conferences, meetings with elected officials and more, throughout the past eight months to advocate for the TRUST Act.

From the IBIC, about why it’s a good law: “​The core duty of local police is community safety​,​ not federal immigration enforcement. Immigrants are more likely to report crimes and ​come forward as​ witnesses to crimes when they are not afraid. SB 31 promotes trust between immigrants and local police, which strengthens community safety for all Illinois residents.”

So for the Illinois Chiefs, the bill mostly puts into law what is current practice for local police departments: They don’t pull people over only to check their immigration status. They do respond to calls for service when people are the victims of crime or involved in an accident. They do want Illinois residents to call local police if someone is battered, in an accident, or burglarized.

According to the IBIC, 174 business leaders support the bill and you can CLICK HERE to get the list. 

Also, 179 faith leaders support the bill and you can get that list HERE.

Earlier versions of this bill were much worse than the final version – troublesome ideas like prohibiting informal communication between ICE and local law enforcement, for example. We were the first law enforcement organization to accept reasonable compromises and support the bill. Senate President John Cullerton thanked us for that, and we were grateful that he worked with us and others on the bill.

We released a statement about this issue back in March, and the principles in that statement made their way into the law.