Protests at either end of Illinois over immigration, racism

CHICAGO/CARBONDALE — While not coordinated, there were two separate protests at the extreme ends of the state, speaking out against the immigration crackdown and white supremacy. WSIU, a Carbondale NPR station, reported that the Southern Illinois Immigrant Rights Project showed support for the residents of El Paso on Wednesday. The radio station said the group delivered a letter and held a picket asking U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) to condemn the white supremist rhetoric and policies coming from the White House. Becca Tally told WSIU that the group wanted Bost to make a statement. “That is necessary for the people that are here residing in his district to know that he wants to serve and protect everyone of us no matter what race, religion, creed or national origin that we are from,” she said.

Champaign mayor says police won’t help ICE

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen announced on Thursday that the city’s police department will not help ICE officials with going after immigrants. In a statement, the police department and mayor’s office stated:

Champaign Police does not take part in ICE immigration raids or immigration enforcement operations involving suspected undocumented residents. The State of Illinois’ TRUST Act prohibits local law enforcement from assisting with any federal immigration enforcement operation. Champaign Police will not stop, arrest, search, or detain anyone solely based on their nationality or immigration status. If known, Champaign Police will not share information about an undocumented individual with federal officials.

Action to End Criminalization, Detention, & Deportations being held this Saturday

CHICAGO — A coalition of civil rights, social justice and political action groups are holding a protest action this Saturday, July 13, at Daley Center Plaza in downtown Chicago. From the Facebook event:
On a daily basis, immigrant communities in Illinois live with the fear that imminent raids and escalated activity by ICE, as stated by Trump, will rip families apart. We see more information each day regarding deplorable situations at the border – where government officials deny there is a humanitarian crisis, where children are treated as less than human, and where more children have died in immigration custody in 2019 than in the past 10 years. In Illinois, we are taking a stand. We see the current criminalization of immigrants, those coming to our borders seeking asylum and those seeking a better life for themselves and their families, as a continuation of the United States’ deep history of exploiting and criminalizing immigrants.

Advocates say Illinois ban on private immigrant detention centers a ‘firewall’

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer
SPRINGFIELD — Critics of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies are calling on state and federal lawmakers to follow the lead of Illinois, which banned private immigrant detention centers and enacted other protections for undocumented state residents ahead of the president’s deportation raids that were planned for Sunday but have been temporarily delayed. On Friday, Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed three bills into law that aim to enhance protections for migrant families in Illinois—just a day before Trump turned to Twitter to announce that “at the request of Democrats” in Congress, he had postponed for two weeks U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids planned for 10 major cities including Chicago. “Let me be perfectly clear: the state of Illinois stands as a firewall against Donald Trump’s attacks on our immigrant communities,” Pritzker said in a statement. “In the face of attempts to stoke fear, exploit division, and force families into the shadows, we are taking action.” In addition to making Illinois the first state to outlaw private immigrant detention facilities, the state’s new legislation also prohibits local law enforcement agencies from engaging in federal immigration enforcement with ICE and allows undocumented and transgender students to receive Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants and other aid at public education institutions.

‘Not On Our Watch’: Rights groups rally to help immigrant communities ahead of reported weekend raids by ICE

By Julia Conley, staff writer

WASHINGTON — Ahead of raids the Trump administration is reportedly set to begin on Sunday, rights groups on Friday urgently circulated information to immigrant communities and families nationwide to ensure their rights are known and protections are in place. 

Three officials with knowledge of Trump’s directive to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told the Washington Post that up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders could be targeted in 10 major cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, San Francisco, Newark, and Washington, D.C.

The news of the planned raids comes days after the president threatened that he would soon begin deporting “millions” of undocumented immigrants. To prepare communities, groups including United We Dream and Raices posted on social media information about immigrants’ rights. 

If ICE agents come to an immigrant’s home, one infographic made by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) read, he or she should not open the door. Instead, families should demand to see a warrant for arrest and exercise their right to remain silent and speak with a lawyer. 🚨🚨READ🚨🚨: ICE raids targeting families may be happening as soon as this weekend. Miami, LA, Chicago, Baltimore, DC, and NY are possible targets, and there could be more.

Transgender woman dies in ICE custody on the first day of Pride

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer

EL PASO — A Salvadoran trans woman died in ICE custody on June 1, the first day of Pride Month. 

Johana Medina was a migrant from El Salvador. She was seeking asylum in the U.S.

Known to her friends as Joa, Johana passed away Saturday night from complications due to HIV/AIDS. Her death was announced on the Diversidad Sin Fronteras Facebook page on Sunday. 

In a statement, Casa Migrante trans leader Grecia, who was close with Johana, said that ICE agents ignored Johana’s pleas for help as her illness became worse while in custody. “For weeks, she pleaded for medical help, referring to health problems caused by complications with HIV/AIDS,” said Grecia. “After two months of suffering, Joana became extremely ill and unconscious forcing ICE to take her to Las Palmas del Sol Hospital in El Paso, Texas.”

Legislators work to make Illinois a sanctuary state

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.