In response to fears of a government crackdown on undocumented immigrants by the Trump administration, the Illinois senate passed a bill that would prevent police from arresting people solely based on their immigration statuses. The goal of the bill is to help instill trust between the immigrant community and the police. If it becomes law, the bill will prevent police from conducting searches or making arrests of undocumented immigrants unless they have federal criminal warrants, and it would also establish safe zones in public health care facilities, schools and secretary of state buildings. State and local law enforcement agencies would also be forbidden from creating databases of individuals based on their national origins, race or religion. An immigration law firm in Chicago believes that such a law is necessary because of the current political climate.
The Bill: Arguments For and Against
The bill was primarily backed by democrats in the Senate. They argue that since the Trump administration commenced a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, more crime victims and witnesses are afraid to report the crimes to law enforcement officers because of fears that they will be deported. Opponents of the bill argue that it is basically telling the police to break federal law by not taking undocumented immigrants that they encounter into custody for federal authorities. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 31 for to 21 against. It will now be sent to the House.
The Struggle Between the States and the Administration
The proposed bill comes against a backdrop of an ongoing struggle between some states and cities against the federal government. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened certain cities, including Chicago, with the loss of federal money if they do not agree for their police officers to arrest and hold undocumented immigrants for federal agencies. Cities have decried the Trump administration’s move because of the distrust it creates between the police and immigrant communities.
When undocumented immigrants witness or are the victims of crime, they are less likely to report the crimes to law enforcement if they might be arrested when they do. Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel has stated that the city will not acquiesce to the administration’s demands. The law would go one step further by effectively extending sanctuary to immigrants statewide. Immigrants may get help from an immigration law firm in Chicago with getting visas or becoming naturalized so that they can establish a legal presence.