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Legislators work to make Illinois a sanctuary state

Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (Photo via Good Free Photos)

SPRINGFIELD — State legislators joined a call to make Illinois a sanctuary state on Wednesday.

Capitol News Illinois reported that St. Rep. Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) and St. Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) are pushing for passing a bill that would limit how much cooperation public agencies in Illinois can provide to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“In a time when separating families has become synonymous with the U.S.-Mexico border, families in Illinois are also under the threat of separation due to ruthless, harmful and lawless immigration enforcement,” Villanueva said during a Statehouse news conference covered by the news service.

CNI reported that House Bill 1637, known as the “Keep Illinois Families Together Act,” would bar local law enforcement agencies from agreeing to enforce federal immigration laws.

It would also bar law enforcement officials from asking anyone who has been arrested or detained about their citizenship or immigration status, or their place of birth. It would apply to people who submit to questioning, crime victims, witnesses and any person who contacts law enforcement seeking assistance.

The news service said it would also call on the state attorney general to propose rules limiting how much assistance certain public agencies could provide to immigration officials. Those rules would apply specifically to public schools and higher education institutions, state-funded health care facilities, public libraries, facilities operated by the secretary of state and courthouses.

Chicago and other cities in the state have already declared themselves sanctuaries since ICE has stepped up its enforcement over the past two years. States like California, Oregon and Washington have also declared themselves sanctuaries.

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