New laws signal support for immigrant communities

immigration signing 062119

CHICAGO – Immigrant communities that have been targeted with dehumanizing rhetoric and policy from the federal government will now receive more security thanks to three pieces of legislation that became law today.


Senators Omar Aquino (D-Chicago), Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and Robert Peters (D-Chicago) joined advocates at a ceremony to see Gov. JB Pritzker sign their bills into law.

House Bill 2691, sponsored by Aquino, creates the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act. The act will allow transgender students who have not registered for selective service and undocumented Illinois residents to apply for state financial aid for higher education.

“Every student, regardless of their immigration status or gender identity, deserves full access to higher education,” said Aquino. “Now that we will provide these students with the means to attend an institution of higher education, we will see a massive return on investment when they graduate and enter the workforce as productive employees.”

House Bill 1637, sponsored by Harmon, creates the Keep Illinois Families Together Act. The law will prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and officers from entering into or remaining in an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to enforce federal immigration law.

“With the toxic rhetoric surrounding immigration coming from the White House, people in my district are scared,” Harmon said. “This legislation takes a small step toward easing that fear by making sure they feel comfortable seeking assistance from police or reporting crimes.”

House Bill 2040, sponsored by Peters, prohibits the State of Illinois, any unit of local government, county sheriff, state agency or other officials from coordinating with the development of any private detention center.

“For-profit detention centers are a breeding ground for mistreatment, and they encourage bad actors to worsen the already poor living conditions as a way to save a few bucks,” Peters said. “They do not belong in our state. I’m proud to have led the charge on this fight, and I’m grateful to Gov. Pritzker for signing this important piece of legislation.”

House Bill 2691 is effective January 1, 2020 and House Bills 1637 and 2040 are effective immediately.