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Local Group Applauds Signing Of Immigration, Police Law

Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the bill Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, at a Mexican restaurant in Chicago.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a plan limiting the role local and state police in Illinois can play in cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

The narrowly-focused measure prohibits police from searching, arresting or detaining someone solely because of immigration status, or because of so-called federal immigration detainers. But local authorities would be able to hold someone if federal officials have a valid criminal warrant.

The law signed Monday takes effect immediately. It's backed by law enforcement, business and immigrant groups.

One of those groups was Illinois People’s Action, based in Bloomington. That organization helped organize a call-in day to Rauner’s office last month, urging him to sign the bill.

“For a long time we’ve been working to have everyone in our community feel safe and feel like they can trust the police, so this is definitely a step in the right direction that’s worthy of celebration,” said Clarissa Kastner of Bloomington, a leader with Illinois People’s Action.

Kastner added: “It’s a moral issue. And it’s something that affects so many people that we personally know. It’s something that we can relate to personally. It was a way to show support for all our neighbors.”

The bill (SB31) was scaled back from a wider proposal calling for the creation of “safe zones” where immigration agents couldn't make arrests. Proponents don't call it a “sanctuary” bill.

But some Republicans who oppose it characterize it that way, which comes as President Donald Trump has threatened so-called sanctuary cities such as Chicago.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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