Illinois Governor Stirs Up Controversy With New Immigration Law

Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner finds himself under fire today after signing a bill on Monday that would limit cooperation with federal immigration officials. The Republican governor’s apparently surprising approval of the controversial immigration legislation marks a victory for immigrant advocates and a bitter defeat for the more conservative members of Rauner’s own party, who had lobbied against it. Some went so far as to say the law creates a “sanctuary state.”

Known as the TRUST Act, the purpose of this bill is to prevent local law enforcement from stopping, arresting, searching, or detaining anyone based solely on immigration status. What caused even more unrest was the fact that this bill barred local officials from detaining anyone solely on the basis of a federal immigration detainer unless federal officials have a criminal warrant.

The governor’s office and other supporters contest the idea that the law constitutes a “sanctuary” policy.

Rauner firmly believes that new law will improve relationships between immigrants and law enforcement and make the state of Illinois safer for all residents. By passing the bill, he is hoping to improve long-term morale in the state, but in the short-term, Rauner’s decision has led to nothing but controversy.

“Illinois has been welcoming of immigrants for a long time, and this bill will continue that tradition,” Rauner said Monday. “It also makes clear that stopping violent crime will be law enforcement’s mission rather than working on federal prerogatives that a federal court has found illegal.”

Bruce Rauner addresses the press
Bruce Rauner wants to emphasize the positives of the new legislation [Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

The governor’s office even brought up a decision made by an Illinois-based federal court that immigration detainer orders from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are illegal.

A spokesperson from Rauner’s office told Fox News that the law goes hand-in-hand with the court’s ruling.

“The Trust Act makes clear that Illinois will be a good partner with the federal government, and law enforcement officials will continue communicating with federal immigration and law enforcement officials,” Rauner’s spokesperson told Fox News.

Fellow Republicans, however, are strongly against the bill because it is an example of what Trump’s administration has been fighting in cities all over the U.S.

Not surprisingly, Democrats were clearly in favor of the new policy. Being of the opinion that immigrants should never be made to feel unsafe as they go about their everyday business, the Democratic party in Illinois supported Rauner in his decision.

At this time, several other states, including California, are considering similar sanctuary policies, but a statewide policy has not been enacted since it was done in Oregon back in 1977.

New immigration law stirs things up in Illinois
Bruce Rauner stands firm despite controversial bill [Image by Chris Walker-Pool/Getty Images]

Those who stand against Rauner believe that when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, the nation is less safe. On top of that, those who are against the passing of this legislation believe that a failure to deport people in the country illegally who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk.

Many of those who oppose Rauner continue to insist that it isn’t just the “right wing” that’s angry. Republican state Senator Kyle McCarter went on record with his feelings about the negative effect all of this could have on everybody, specifically citizens of the state.

“These are union members too, loyal union men trying to protect American jobs, and the last thing they need to see is a Republican governor making Illinois a sanctuary state.”

Rauner’s law faces strong opposition, but his mind is made up. To him, this is a done deal. He believes cops should be freed up to handle more serious crimes and does not wish for them to get involved with immigration issues.

[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]