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Illinois Way Forward Passes IL Senate


Pro-immigrant legislation would completely separate local law enforcement from ICE in Illinois, creating some of the strongest immigration protections in the country

Today the Illinois State Senate voted to pass the Illinois Way Forward Act  (SB 667) by a vote of 36 to 19. The legislation now moves to the Illinois House of Representatives.

Illinois Way Forward, led by Senator Omar Aquino (Chicago) and Representative Lisa Hernandez (Cicero) and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, would prohibit local police from collaborating with ICE on civil immigration enforcement, and thus protect immigrants from facing deportation should they interact with local law enforcement. The bill would ensure that local and state law enforcement do not stray from the areas within their legal  authority and responsibility. As the Illinois Attorney General's Office reaffirmed in 2017, civil immigration enforcement, as a federal matter, is outside the purview of local law enforcement. SB 667 will draw a bright line between law enforcement and civil immigration enforcement by:

  • restricting local police participation in and coordination with ICE operations

  • restricting ICE access to police facilities and equipment

  • restricting ICE access to people in police custody

  • restricting police sharing of information with ICE

  • restricting police inquiries regarding immigration status

  • ending county jail contracts to detain people for ICE.

The Illinois Way Forward Act will also set up accountability measures to ensure that law enforcement agencies are following state laws that limit police collaboration with immigration agencies, and that protect access to legal protections for immigrant survivors of violence.

STATEMENTS from community organizations and legislative leaders on today’s vote:

Said Lawrence Benito, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: “Today marks a win for immigrant communities, as we are one step closer to making Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation. We thank the senators who heard our communities this session and voted yes on Illinois Way Forward.”

Said Senator Omar Aquino, chief Senate sponsor of SB 667: “Immigration enforcement continues to harm communities in Illinois and separate our families. It’s important that no matter where you live in Illinois, local police cannot collaborate with ICE on civil immigration enforcement. Thank you to my colleagues who voted to support immigrant families.”

Senator Cristina Castro, chief co-sponsor: “Areas outside of Chicago have seen large growth in the immigrant population. While parts of the state have taken steps to prevent local police from working with ICE, we need to bring those protections statewide and ensure that immigrants across Illinois can live without fear of deportation.”

Senator Ram Villialam, chief co-sponsor and co-chair of the Illinois Asian American Legislative Caucus: “A majority of Asian Americans are immigrants, and a huge number of people in our communities are without current status. I’m proud to be a chief co-sponsor of the Illinois Way Forward Act because as Asian Americans it’s important to make sure our families are protected too. I now look forward to seeing my colleagues in the House take up the measure.”

Senator Mattie Hunter, chief co-sponsor and member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus: “Separating ICE from local law enforcement is critical for Black immigrants, who are disproportionately affected by the double punishment that comes along with immigration enforcement. Illinois has already been a national leader in restricting police and ICE collaboration, and with Illinois Way Forward we can finally end the practice entirely.”

Senator Celina Villanueva, chief co-sponsor: “This session the Illinois General Assembly is poised to pass a slate of pro-immigrant legislation that would bring Illinois even closer to becoming the most welcoming state in the nation. The Illinois Way Forward is a key piece of that agenda.”

Amanda Hall with the Coalition to End the ICE Contract in McHenry County: “While we have been organizing to end ICE contracts at the county level, we are also pushing SB 667 to end local contracts with ICE all across Illinois. This bill is critical for ensuring safety for our families and neighbors, while setting a precedent for other states across the country to say no to ICE detention.”

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