with mariachis performing in the background, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the TRUST Act on Monday, at a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, officially barring cooperation between Illinois police departments and immigration officials.
The TRUST Act, valid in all cases except where a federal judge has issued a warrant for arrest, will make Illinois more welcoming to immigrants and refugees, according to its supporters.
“We are glad Governor Rauner is doing the right thing by signing the TRUST Act, but it is important to remember that it is a result of our community’s efforts…. This is what the community needs and wants,” said Mony Ruiz-Velasco, president of the board of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).
The law denies local law enforcement the ability to detain people on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency charged with identifying and investigating immigrants present in the country illegally. It also prohibits local officials from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, something Ruiz-Velasco called a “very important protection,” that will make immigrants more comfortable reporting crimes to local police.
Support for the law came from Illinois law enforcement functionaries, as well as over 170 faith leaders, and over 170 Illinois employers. The Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois, in support of the bill, engaged over 84 organizations and 14,000 people in the state, according to ICIRR.
However some political leaders, including many downstate Republicans, voiced opposition.
“We are a country founded by immigrants, but those were legal immigrants, and I think the last thing Illinois wants is to see a sanctuary state, and this moves us in that direction,” state Sen. Kyle McCarter, a Republican from Lebanon, Ill., told the Chicago Tribune.
Just five Republicans voted for the law in the Illinois Senate, and only one Republican voted for it in the House.
Passing with mainly Democratic support on May 5, 2017, the law had since sat on Governor Rauner’s desk as supporters organized through letters, press conferences and rallies.
“This will provide an unprecedented level of protection for Illinois’ half-million undocumented residents, who could otherwise enter the deportation pipeline through any simple interaction with police including a traffic violation,” ICIRR said in a statement. “Illinois is now the gold standard for statewide protections against deportation.”