immigration

Lawsuit Prompts Emergency DACA Workshops

Aug 8, 2018
Sarah Jesmer

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is in legislative limbo. Seven states are suing the federal government in an effort to end the program.

A Texas district judge will hear this lawsuit Wednesday, August 8th.  The hearing, led by Judge Andrew S.  Hanen, could lead to DACA’s suspension.

Two emergency workshops took place this week in Aurora. Organizers are trying to get as many renewal applications filed before the hearing takes place.

Sarah Jesmer

Protests nationwide this past weekend drew attention to immigrant rights and showed support for families separated from their children at the southern border. The city of Rockford hosted one of these demonstrations.

Nearly one thousand people marched in high temperatures Saturday morning. Participants drew attention to a number of issues, including children in detention centers and voter registration, but some also shared their own stories of immigration.

Lorie Shaull

Demonstrations are planned across the country Saturday. They’re meant to show solidarity and support for families and children affected by recent immigration policy at the southern border. 

The stories of families who have been separated during their immigration journey hit especially close to the heart of Elgin resident Jose Alfonso Villalobos.

“When I was young, back in the 80’s, my mother was taken by immigration from us in the middle of the day,” Villalobos said.

Villalobos says his mother was sent alone back across the southern border.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As news has centered on the plight of hundreds of families who have been separated while trying to enter the US through Mexico, concern has been raised over the ultimate destiny of about 1,500 children being held in detention centers and shelters. There are at least 66 of those children in Chicago, according to Heartland Alliance, a non-profit with nine shelters for unaccompanied minors there.

provided by Sara Dorner

People across the nation plan to take to the streets June 30 to protest recent immigration policies that separate families crossing the southwest border of the United States. That includes marches in at least five Illinois cities.

Rockford activist Sara Dorner says she was so angry that children were being separated from their parents at the U.S. border that she contacted the White House, her senators, her representative -- and it still wasn’t enough.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Immigrants' rights advocates are close to celebrating what they consider a win in Illinois, especially for domestic abuse survivors. They are hoping Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign 'The Voices Act' soon, as it passed out of the state's General Assembly during the final days of the spring legislative session.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

More than 50 activists gathered in downtown DeKalb to call for immigration reform. 

The crowd condemned last week’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in Cortland as well as the continued detention of undocumented children away from their families.  The event featured speakers from groups like Action for a Better Tomorrow Sauk Valley and DeKalb Stands.

Another participant was Laura Vivaldo-Cholula, a member of DREAM Action at Northern Illinois University. She said change wouldn’t happen without new leaders in office.

"Sanctuary City" by Flickr User Daniel Lobo / (CC x 2.0)

The federal government cannot withhold public safety grants from cities that refuse to cooperate with President Donald Trump's immigration enforcement policies, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago agreed with the decision last year of a lower court judge who imposed a temporary injunction on the administration. The decision says the administration exceeded its authority in establishing a new condition for cities to qualify for the grants.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ News

Governor Bruce Rauner says he would send Illinois National Guard soldiers to the US-Mexico border, if asked by President Donald Trump.

“Frankly, the president is the commander-in-chief of our military," he said while fielding questions at an event in Springfield Tuesday. "Illinois has not been requested to send troops. If we are requested, I believe we’ll honor that request.”

  

So far, only Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico have agreed to send guardsmen, after President Trump called for a military response to what he calls “lawlessness” at the border.

Student Groups Rally For End To 'Legality Debate'

Apr 9, 2018
Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Passion was overflowing at Northern Illinois University’s fifth annual “Coming Out of the Shadows” rally. The event organized by Dream Action NIU aims to push back against rhetoric that tries to dehumanize undocumented immigrants:

  

Organizers say about 200 people showed up for "Coming Out of the Shadows" in NIU’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium. The rally kicked off with music, and even some salsa dancing.

UIUC School Of Social Work

About a hundred students traveled to Washington D.C. last week to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act. Among them was Bruna Cardoso, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduate student.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling on Congress to come up with a comprehensive immigration program. 

Speaking on The 21st, Rauner said it is "almost impossible" for someone to come to the U.S. legally, but he commented that illegal immigration is easy "and that causes challenges especially for less skilled workers."

He added, "It can push up unemployment."

The governor said the immigration system is broken and not helping anyone—either individuals or businesses.

Police in Illinois have limited power when it comes to matters of immigration. Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued legal guidance Wednesday to remind officers of what's permissible.  

Illinois law prohibits an arrest based only on someone’s immigration status. Madigan said this is important because, nationwide, police say they're getting fewer reports of crime from immigrants. She noted they are a group "who may be concerned that, if they come forward to report, that either themselves or their family members may be in jeopardy of deportation."

Wikipedia

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law Monday that some immigration lawyers say provides the strongest protections for immigrants of any state. 

The Illinois Trust Act says that local and state law enforcement officials will not detain immigrants solely because they may be undocumented.

The Republican governor signed it at a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

“This bill takes us in a step continuing to be a welcoming state,” Rauner said. “This was not an easy bill to pass; let’s be clear.”

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A border wall, ICE raids, detention centers, and street protests – immigration has been one of the hottest political issues over the past year. But how much do you know about the process that made America “a nation of immigrants?” On this Week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Susan Stephens sat down with immigration attorney Sara Dady, who’s with the Rockford law firm Dady and Hoffmann.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Emotions ran high at Tuesday night's forum on whether the Winnebago County Jail should open its doors to federal immigration inmates.

Sheriff Gary Caruana is in negotiations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, who want to house immigrants with felonies awaiting deportation in unused sections of the jail.

In exchange for housing their inmates in a segregated area of the jail, Caruana wants veto power on who is housed, the option to withdraw from the agreement in 30 days, and $80 per inmate per day.

Illinois’ population losses are frequently cited in debates over the state’s tax rates and business laws.
Last year, Census figures show it was tied for the greatest rate of people leaving the state.

But Sarah Crane, with Moody’s Analytics, says a federal immigration crackdown could make it even worse.

"Any policies that severely curtail immigration will hurt the state's population growth even more than expected, in addition to labor force growth.”

Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious / "U.S. Mexico border" (CC V. 2.0)

Immigration in the U.S. remains a hot topic, and the controversy surrounding it only keeps evolving. That comes after a few executive orders from President Donald Trump that give local law enforcement the ability to detain undocumented immigrants.

The Illinois Senate's leader is promoting legislation he says will protect immigrants from Trump administration actions.

Several immigrant and anti-crime groups and labor unions joined Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago on Monday to unveil legislation he calls the TRUST act. It would bar law enforcement agencies in Illinois from helping in immigration actions unless federal authorities present a warrant from a judge.

It also would bar federal agents from state-funded schools or health institutions unless they have a court-issued warrant.

Cass Herrington/Peoria Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s order to deport immigrants living in the U.S. illegally left many undocumented people and their families feeling unsettled.

In response, immigrant rights advocates are mobilizing to spread information about how to better prepare for encounters with immigration officials.

 

“Fear debilitates you,” community organizer Jorge Mujica said. “We are in a full campaign against fear. Good information organizes, so what we are doing is giving people good information.”

Google Maps

Illinois has joined a group of states supporting a temporary restraining order against President Trump’s revised travel ban.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined colleagues in twelve other states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief Monday supporting the state of Hawaii in its case against the revised Executive Order on immigration. They argue that the latest travel ban still contains unconstitutional parts of the original order.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly unveiled new policies on Tuesday that are aimed at detaining and deporting more immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

The two memos, signed by Kelly, lay out a series of steps the department plans to take to implement President Donald Trump's executive orders from late January. Those orders called for increased border security and better enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The President’s recent executive order put in place a 90-day ban on entry visas for immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen).  And it’s worrying the international community at NIU.

The concern is particularly strong among those present on a student visa.  Stephanie Brown, Associate Director of the International Student and Faculty Office, says only a small number of NIU's roughly 1,100 international students are affected directly. 

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, concluding she has "betrayed the Department of Justice" by refusing to defend his executive order that imposes a temporary ban on refugees and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries.

In a statement, the White House called Yates, an Obama administration holdover with 27 years of experience prosecuting corrupt public officials and the man who bombed the Atlanta Olympic park, "weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration."

A Northern Illinois University professor was one of the hundreds of demonstrators at O’Hare International Airport last weekend. The protests were against President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions against people from majority-Muslim countries.

NIU education professor Joseph Flynn says he saw many walks of life take part in the O’Hare Airport demonstrations – including several different races and creeds and members of the LGBTQ community.

US Senator Dick Durbin says he has "deep concerns" about president-elect Donald Trump's choice for attorney general.

The Illinois Democrat met Wednesday with nominee Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama.

Durbin says he asked Sessions about his longstanding position against special protections for immigrants who were brought to America illegally as children.

Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen says the school’s three campuses can’t serve as sanctuaries for undocumented students. 

He cited the need to uphold state and federal laws, but said leaders will do all they can within the law to protect students, including the undocumented. 

  Applications by immigrants living in Illinois who want to become citizens are on the rise, and the presidential race may be playing a role. 

The federal government has seen a twenty five percent increase in citizenship applications from Illinois compared with other years, says Breandán McGee with the Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. 

McGee says he thinks Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's remarks about Mexicans and building a wall on the U.S. Mexico border are a large factor since most immigrants in the state are Latino. 

Quinn: Immigration Status Not Enough To Detain

Jan 6, 2015
State of Illinois

Immigration status alone will no longer be a valid reason for the Illinois State Police to detain someone, under an order issued Monday by Gov. Pat Quinn. 

In the executive order, Quinn says that "community policing efforts are hindered" when immigrants who are victims of, or witness, crimes are wary of cooperating for fear they'll be deported.

Quinn's order only applies to agencies under the governor's control: state troopers and conservation police.

Rauner Chips In To Immigration Debate

Nov 24, 2014

Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is weighing in on the national immigration debate. Rauner spoke to reporters at a conference for Latinos involved in state government Friday. Rauner - a Republican - talked with members of his own party who serve in Washington, D.C. 

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