The Illinois Legislature is set to pass a controversial bill that will tie the hands of law enforcement severely hamper the federal government’s efforts to enforce immigration law in that state. Senate Bill (SB) 31, the so-called TRUST Act, is a sanctuary bill that threatens public safety by drastically restricting communication between state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies regarding criminal aliens. The Illinois House voted 62-49, closely along party lines, to approve SB 31. The Senate approved a slightly different version of the measure, 31-31, in early May.
SB 31 prohibits law enforcement from inquiring about the citizenship or immigration status of any individual they encounter. This prohibition alone will severely limit law enforcement’s ability to cooperate in immigration enforcement matters. SB 31 also stops law enforcement from arresting, searching, or detaining any person on the basis of their immigration status, detainer, or an administrative warrant that may be issued by the federal government. Likewise, SB 31 prohibits law enforcement from entering into any agreement or program with federal officials for training or participation in immigration enforcement, including the 287(g) program.
Outrageously, the bill also prohibits state and local agencies from allowing federal officials any access to individuals already in their custody or to respond to federal inquiries for information on inmates, including their release dates or contact information. Federal officials are also prohibited from using any state or local facilities, equipment, databases, or resources for immigration enforcement purposes, under the terms of the measure.
Concerned lawmakers and citizens who oppose SB 31 warned that the measure will encourage lawlessness in the state. Sen. Tim Bivins (R-45), a former police officer, said the bill would be a “law to tell law enforcement not to enforce the law.”
The Senate must agree to changes made by the Assembly by May 31 for the measure can be sent to Governor Bruce Rauner (R) for signature. Governor Rauner has not spoken on whether he will sign the bill. If enacted, SB 31 will make Illinois the fourth sanctuary state in the country, following Oregon, California, and Connecticut.