Illinois governor signs bills effectively ending statewide immigration detention
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Illinois governor signs bills effectively ending statewide immigration detention

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed four new bills into law on Monday that in effect end immigration detention by expanding protections for immigrants and refugees. In an attempt to establish “Illinois as the most welcoming state in the nation,” he also issued an executive order creating the Welcoming Illinois Office.

In an official press release, the Governor’s office said,

The new laws strengthen the [Illinois] TRUST Act and make Illinois the second state in the nation to require local officials to end partnerships with ICE, address hate crimes against immigrant communities, expand workplace protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and create the Illinois Immigration Impact Task Force to ensure state programs and policies best serve immigrant residents.

The first bill, HB 121, amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to broaden protections for DACA recipients by “prevent[ing] discrimination based on the specific status or term of status that accompanies a legal work authorization.” The second bill, SB 667, establishes the Illinois Way Forward Act and amends the Illinois TRUST Act by restricting law enforcement officials’ power to inquire about a person’s immigration status and by granting the Attorney General enforcement powers.

The third bill, SB 1596, amends the Illinois 2012 Criminal Code definition of a “hate crime” to include “the commission of the specified criminal acts against a person because of the actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status of the person.” The final bill, SB 2665, establishes the Illinois Immigrant Impact Task Force, which will examine immigrant community related issues and make recommendations by May 31, 2022.

Governor JB Pritzker, who announced last month that he is running for re-election, said, “Throughout my governorship I’ve directed my administration to adopt policies that make Illinois a welcoming state for immigrants, and I’m proud to sign these accountability measures into law to advance our cause.” He also shared a message saying, “Families belong together here in Illinois. Always.”