Press

Wallace Joins Effort to Create Trust between Law Enforcement and Immigrant Communities

05/28/2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, is backing legislation to require law enforcement and federal immigration officials to acquire a warrant before cooperating in arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal background.

"There has been a lot of conversation, both locally and nationally, about how to handle immigrant populations," Wallace said. "It"s critical that we ensure our legal process is respected and that we do not recklessly and aggressively target individuals who responsibly contribute to our community. Our local police and resources should not be burdened with rounding up residents who have not committed a crime in order to address a political agenda."

Wallace is a sponsor of Senate Bill 31, known as the Illinois TRUST Act, which would set reasonable and constitutional limits on local law enforcement from engaging in the enforcement of federal immigration policies by:

- Barring local police from engaging with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents without a court-issued warrant,
- Barring federal agents from making arrests in state-funded schools and health facilities,
- Banning participation in a federal registry based on country of origin or religion, and
- Strengthening legal protections for immigrant victims of crimes.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), immigrant communities are more likely to report crimes and cooperate with police if they trust their immigration status will not be made an issue. Communities with more welcoming policies also show lower crime rates as undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. With Senate Bill 31, Illinois now joins 14 other state legislatures and the District of Columbia in introducing welcoming legislation to address the growing safety concerns in immigrant communities. Senate Bill 31 does not prohibit ICE agents from operating in Illinois, nor does it prevent cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement if a warrant is acquired.

"This measure aims to create trust between immigrant and law enforcement communities," Wallace said. "In Rockford, we should be looking for ways that foster cooperation and communication between our residents and those who serve to protect us. This bill helps to do that."

Senate Bill 31 passed the Illinois Senate, and now awaits consideration on the House floor.


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