4 Illinois Bills Expand Protections for Immigrant, Refugee Communities

4 Illinois Bills Expand Protections for Immigrant, Refugee Communities

The state of Illinois has passed HB 121, SB 667, SB 1596 and SB 2665 into law, legislation expanding protections for immigrant and refugee communities and further establishing Illinois as the most welcoming state in the nation.

The new laws strengthen the 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 recipients, and create the Illinois Immigration Impact Task Force to ensure state programs and policies best serve immigrant residents.

Gov. JB Pritzker also signed an executive order creating the Welcoming Illinois Office, to report to the Office of the Governor and the Secretary of the Department of Human Services while being housed and supported by the Department of Human Services.

The office will work to coordinate, develop and implement policies and practices to make Illinois a more welcoming and equitable state for immigrants and refugees. The office will be led by the Senior Immigration Fellow.

“Every family, every child, every human being deserves to feel safe and secure in the place they call home,” Pritzker said in a news release.

The governor previously signed legislation into law that banned the establishment of private, for-profit immigrant detention centers and took action to prevent landlords from wrongfully using a tenant’s immigration status against them.

During the pandemic, the administration also offered a wealth of relief aimed at all Illinois families regardless of their immigration status, to protect their health, wellbeing, and economic security.

“Fundamental protections for immigrant communities are essential to the welfare of all Illinoisans,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “I look forward to working with these stakeholders as we build upon our joint efforts to protect and further the interests of Illinois’ immigrant population.”

HB 121 expands protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, recipients by adding a new definition for ‘work authorization status’ to the Illinois Human Rights Act.  The change clarifies that it is a civil rights violation for employers to refuse to hire, segregate, or engage in harassment on the basis of work authorization status.

SB 667 strengthens the Illinois TRUST Act and the Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors Act to protect immigrant families in Illinois.

The legislation:

  • Provides clarity around action that law enforcement officials can and cannot take around warrants.
  • Prohibits state or local governments from signing contracts with the federal government to unjustly detain immigrants.
  • Places limitations on local enforcement of discriminatory practices by prohibiting officials from inquiring about the citizenship or immigration status of an individual in custody  unless they’re presented with a federal criminal warrant, or otherwise required by federal law.
  • Increases transparency by requiring state and local law enforcement agencies to submit annual reports regarding requests from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Authorizes the Attorney General to conduct investigations into violation of the Illinois TRUST Act.

SB 1596 expands protections against immigrant communities by amending the Criminal Code of 2012 to include hate crimes based on citizenship and immigration status.

The changes will also assist law enforcement officials in identifying and reporting anti-immigrant hate crimes separate from other hate crimes, including to the FBI hate crimes database.

SB 2665 creates the Illinois Immigration Impact Task Force to study how state policies and programs affect immigrant residents. The Task Force will consist of 27 members and require the Department of Huma Services to staff and examine a number of issues.

The Task Force will submit a report with its finding and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on or before May 31, 2022.

HB 121, SB 667 and SB 2665 are effective immediately.

SB 1596 is effective Jan. 1, 2022.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release

State of Illinois on Facebook