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Latino Caucus Reforms to Protect, Lift Up Immigrant Community Await Governor’s Signature

Jun 13, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, D-Cicero, state Rep. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, and fellow members of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus worked to advance a series of reforms this spring that will put in place additional state-level protections to combat Donald Trump’s bigoted agenda and ensure Illinois supports and lifts up its immigrant community.

“A college education or technical training is key to move up the socioeconomic ladder and it’s unacceptable that talented young people are being denied that opportunity because of their immigration status,” Hernandez said. “The Illinois RISE Act will ensure equity and opportunity for all of our young people.”

The following initiatives were championed by members of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and now await Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s consideration:

House Bill 1637 (Villanueva) will prohibit local law enforcement from entering into agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that permit them to enforce family separation policies;

House Bill 2691 (Hernandez) will ensure state financial aid is available to Illinois students regardless of race, immigration status or gender identity;

Senate Bill 172 (state Rep. Aaron Ortiz, D-Chicago) will expand student body representation among the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees by allowing undocumented students to serve as student trustees;

Senate Bill 1166 (state Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago) will allow trained individuals to obtain certain occupational or professional licensure, regardless of their immigration status; and

Senate Bill 1290 (state Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago) will make it unlawful for landlords to evict or harass a tenant based on their immigration status.

“It is up to us at the state level to protect local families from being torn apart by the bigoted agenda of Donald Trump,” Villanueva said. “By prohibiting local police from being deputized as ICE agents, we are building trust in local law enforcement as immigrant families will feel safe to call when their safety is at risk or when they need to report a crime in their community.”

“Immigrant families work hard every day to contribute to our society. No one deserves to be threatened or harassed because of their immigration status,” Mah said. “This legislation will protect immigrant families from unscrupulous landlords, providing them much-needed peace of mind.”