Illinois Immigrants to Benefit from Bill Being Signed Monday
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – While some Illinois Republicans are unhappy, the immigrant community is applauding Gov. Bruce Rauner for his promised signature on a couple of pieces of legislation.
Especially under fire is Senate Bill 31, the Illinois Trust Act. It limits the role of local law enforcement in federal efforts to crack down on people living in this country illegally. Another is an automatic voter registration bill.
Democratic state Rep. Chris Welch says both give immigrants basic rights that they should already have, and makes Illinois a safe state in which to work, live and pay taxes, without the fear of being arrested.
Welch adds Rauner's signature on the Trust Act flies in the face of what President Donald Trump is pushing.
"With all this information put out there before this governor, he has taken a look at the Trust Act and he sees – and admits himself – that this is very good, reasonable legislation, and I think this is going to do wonders for the state of Illinois and the business climate," Welch states.
There's been backlash from conservative Republicans in Illinois, with some saying on social media that this is the beginning of the end for the governor and, if he wants Republican support, this is not the way to get it.
Other opponents say the bill is a bad idea because there are often reasons to detain immigrants for reasons of national security.
Welch says the governor's move is not only a good thing for people, it's a good thing for business as well.
"What he's also saying to those who are looking at Illinois and wanting to come here and make Illinois home and be contributors to our economy, 'come on, you’re welcome in Illinois,’ so this is huge and that's why the business community is so much in favor of the Trust Act," Welch explains.
This isn't the first time Rauner has steered away from Trump. He didn't publicly endorse him for president during the campaign, and early this year he boycotted the first formal White House dinner for Trump attended by governors from across the nation.
After the fallout from the president's comments seemingly supporting white nationalists following the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month, Rauner said Trump's comments were damaging to America.