Bucking a federal effort to crack down on illegal-alien sanctuary policies, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) this week signed SB 31, a bill that makes it more difficult for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pick up criminal aliens for deportation. Commenting on the new law, a Justice Department official told Fox News, "(W)hen cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe…Failure to deport aliens who are convicted for criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk — especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators."

Known as the Trust Act, the new law requires ICE agents to obtain a judicial warrant before they can pick up an illegal alien in state or local custody. The measure also prohibits Illinois law enforcement agencies from: inquiring about the citizenship or immigration status of any individual they encounter; arresting or detaining any person on the basis of their immigration status; participating in the 287(g) federal-state partnership program; giving federal officials access to individuals already in their custody; and responding to federal requests for information on inmates (e.g., release dates).

The Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughn told LifeZette, "It's outrageous that Rauner was more interested in protecting criminal aliens than in allowing law enforcement agencies to cooperate with ICE, so that ICE can do its job…Rauner made a huge mistake, both on public safety and politically. He did this without even speaking or meeting with people in his state whose families have been harmed by criminal aliens released by sanctuary policies…How can he lead the state to economic progress if the crime problems persist? Sanctuary policies like this have proven to be a drag on the economy, because the state will continue to be a magnet for illegal immigration, and will be guaranteed to continue large payouts for welfare benefits, health care, and educational support."

Republican state Sen. Kyle McCarter told the Chicago Tribune that "this could be the last straw [for Rauner]...And this isn't just the 'right wing' that's angry. 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."

The bill signing comes on the heels of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attack on Chicago’s sanctuary policies. In a recent speech, Attorney General Sessions linked the increase in crime there to the city’s sanctuary policies. “Every year, too many Americans’ lives are victimized as a result of sanctuary city policies, whether it be theft, robbery, drugs, assault, battery and even murder,” he said. “We want to do everything we can to help state and local law enforcement, which is why we have federal grants to cities designed to aid in crime reduction. But we cannot continue giving federal taxpayer money to cities that actively undermine the safety and efficacy of federal law enforcement and actively frustrate efforts to reduce crime in their cities. 

Attorney General Sessions has threatened to terminate certain federal law enforcement grants to Chicago over its sanctuary policies. The City has responded by suing the Justice Department.

sanctuary cities
Interior Enforcement

Updated: Wed, Sep 13th 2017 @ 5:45pm EDT