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Illinois Way Forward (SB 667) passes General Assembly


Illinois is one step closer to completely separating local law enforcement from ICE statewide; SB 667 heads to Governor’s desk

Today the Illinois State House voted to pass the Illinois Way Forward Act (SB 667) by a vote of 68 to 47. The legislation now moves to the desk of Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Illinois Way Forward, led by Representative Lisa Hernandez (Cicero), Senator Omar Aquino (Chicago), and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, would end ICE contracts with local prisons, and prohibit local police from collaborating with ICE on civil immigration enforcement, thus protect immigrants from facing deportation should they interact with local law enforcement. The bill would also ensure that local and state law enforcement do not stray from the areas within their legal authority and responsibility. As the Illinois Attorney General's Office reaffirmed in 2017 after Illinois passed the TRUST Act, civil immigration enforcement, as a federal matter, is outside the purview of local law enforcement. SB 667 will draw a bright line between law enforcement and civil immigration enforcement by:

  • restricting local police participation in and coordination with ICE operations

  • restricting ICE access to police facilities and equipment

  • restricting ICE access to people in police custody

  • restricting police sharing of information with ICE

  • restricting police inquiries regarding immigration status

  • ending county jail contracts to detain people for ICE.

The Illinois Way Forward Act will also set up accountability measures to ensure that law enforcement agencies are following state laws that limit police collaboration with immigration agencies, and that protect access to legal protections for immigrant survivors of violence.

STATEMENTS from ICIRR and legislative leaders on today’s vote:

Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of ICIRR: “This is a celebratory moment for immigrants across Illinois, and a significant step towards getting ICE out of our communities entirely. Now it’s time for other states to follow Illinois’ lead, and for Congress to decriminalize immigrants and make sure ICE stops hurting our communities across the nation.”

Assistant Majority Leader Lisa Hernandez, House chief sponsor of Illinois Way Forward (SB 667): “Immigrants who have contact with the criminal legal system and are in ICE detention have served their time. They deserve to be reunited with their families just like anyone else. Yet due to our federal laws, they face a potential double punishment of deportation just because of where they were born. With the passage of Illinois Way Forward we are refusing to facilitate this double punishment for immigrants, and stopping sheriffs and local police from doing ICE’s work in Illinois.”

Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch, chief co-sponsor of SB 667: “In 2017 I joined Representative Lisa Hernandez and ICIRR members to pass the Illinois TRUST Act. Today, with the passage of Illinois Way Forward, we build on our previous victories and solidify Illinois’ place as one of the most welcoming states for immigrants in the nation by providing even greater protections to our residents against the threat of the federal deportation machine.”

Representative Theresa Mah, chief co-sponsor of SB 667: “Passing Illinois Way Forward out of the General Assembly is a critical part of ensuring safety for all people in our state, regardless of immigration status. As Asian American communities grow across Illinois, the protections provided by SB 667 are necessary because our communities deserve that safety, too.”

Representative Rita Mayfield, chief co-sponsor of SB 667: “Ending ICE contracts with local jails is a major win for racial equity in Illinois, as Black immigrants are disproportionately targeted by ICE enforcement and detention. Once Illinois Way Forward is signed into law, it will rightfully bring an end to the costly, unnecessary, and inhumane practice of immigrant detention in our state.”

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