Lawmakers Consider Expanding Illinois Immigrant Protections
Illinois legislators are attempting to boost immigrant protections in response to President Donald Trump's executive orders, a move advocates say would essentially give the state "sanctuary" status. A proposal by Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch says schools, medical facilities and places of worship wouldn't have to give access to federal immigration authorities or local law enforcement working on their behalf.
Another proposal would limit cooperation and communication between police and immigration authorities.
Mony Ruiz-Velasco leads an immigrant organizing group called PASO. She says the measures are needed to counteract the executive orders, including one that would allow local police to act as de facto immigration agents.
But passage of the measures is uncertain. Opponents say Trump is just fulfilling campaign promises and "sanctuary" entities risk losing their federal funding.
There are a few "sanctuary cities" in Illinois, including Chicago, but Urbana is the only downstate city with status. The Urbana City Council re-affirmed its sanctuary status in December 2016.