Immigrant Leaders Call on Rauner to Advance Pro-Immigrant “Illinois is Safe” Agenda Before Trump Inauguration

November 14, 2016


For more information, contact:

Fred Tsao, ICIRR, 312 332-7360 x213

Immigrant Leaders Call on Rauner to Advance Pro-Immigrant “Illinois is Safe” Agenda Before Trump Inauguration

Demand swift action during upcoming post-election legislative session

Chicago, IL- Throughout this year’s presidential campaign, Governor Rauner never officially endorsed Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, and did not attend the Republican National Convention. Less than forty percent of Illinois voters supported Mr. Trump, a clear rejection of his anti-immigrant proposals. Now, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) members are calling on Governor Rauner to listen to his state’s voters, reject the President-elect’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, and use his executive authority and leadership to actively advance protections for immigrants before Mr. Trump is inaugurated on January 20, 2017.

“The country just elected the most dangerous and racist president in recent history.  Now is the time for local leadership to show that Illinois stands for something different,” said ICIRR board president Mony Ruiz-Velasco. “Voters in Illinois rejected Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ and xenophobic rhetoric. The governor now has a responsibility to act against Trump’s racist agenda, and advance the best interests of Illinois residents.”

ICIRR members established an “Illinois Is Safe” agenda for Illinois.  The Coalition is calling on the Governor to take the following actions immediately as the General Assembly reconvenes for its veto session this week:

  1. Immediately issue an executive order designating public schools and universities “sanctuary spaces” for undocumented individuals in Illinois. Such an order would restrict officers from the Department of Homeland Security from entering “sensitive locations” included schools, places of worship and hospitals. (See
  2. Endorse and encourage support for House passage of the Student Access Bill (SB 2196) and sign the bill when it reaches his desk. The bill provides legal authority to four-year public universities in Illinois to provide financial aid to undocumented students who enroll at their institutions. This bill addresses educational access, a centerpiece issue of his administration.  SB 2196 passed out of the Senate, and is expected to come up for a vote during veto session in the House  
  3. Use his national leadership within the Republican Party to call on President-elect Trump to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. DACA protects over 740,000 young people from deportation, including over 41,000 in Illinois with many more immigrants eligible for the program who have yet to apply. DACA grants recipients work permits and allows them to contribute to the country’s tax base. Studies have concluded that the DACA program would increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product by hundreds of billions of dollars. The Social Security Administration has estimated that the program would increase tax revenue by billions of dollars. The policy is good for Illinois’ residents and economy.

ICIRR also calls on the Governor to work in good faith with Senate and House legislatures to seek bipartisan support to protect Illinois immigrants by taking the following steps in response to the Trump administration’s priorities as soon as possible:

  1. Support legislation to ensure that Illinois law enforcement officials are not involved in immigration enforcement. Such legislation would ensure that local law enforcement agencies do not honor burdensome and legally suspect requests from U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people for deportation who have otherwise been granted release by the state and municipal courts.  
  2. Propose legislation to ban private immigration detention centers in Illinois. Private prison companies have made several proposals to build in Illinois, most recently in Kankakee County. Each such proposal has been met with vociferous local resistance due to the long history of abuse, neglect, and profiteering among private facilities.  Legislation is needed to bar these prisons altogether.
  3. Work with our member organizations and other criminal justice reform allies to craft and enact sentencing reforms that limit the deportation consequences of interactions with the criminal justice system in Illinois.

“Governor Rauner has publicly supported a national immigration reform agenda,” observed ICIRR Executive Director Lawrence Benito. “He refused to join other GOP governors in suing the Obama administration regarding its pro-immigrant executive actions. On November 9, we entered a new era where more is required of all of us. Now is the time for the Governor to meet this moment and act on the principles that Illinois voters unequivocally supported in this year’s elections”

ICIRR members will be in Springfield throughout the fall veto session to advance these priorities.

**ICIRR has posted a list a mental health resources available to the immigrant community for anyone who needs support or help coping with the trauma and stress induced by the recent events. For a list of mental health and other support resources, visit:

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit