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Stephenson County approves ‘non-sanctuary’ resolution

Stephenson County Board on April 18, 2024.

Stephenson County Board on April 18, 2024.

The Stephenson County Board approved a resolution declaring itself a non-sanctuary county on Thursday. It passed similar language that has been approved by Ogle and Winnebago counties.

The resolution was approved on a 10 to 6 vote after arguments were made ranging from anti-immigrant rhetoric to pleas to understand the role immigrants play in the local economy.

And though the text garnered debate, it doesn’t do much. It gives apolitical overview of immigration shaped by the author — county board member Republican Larry Yogerst.

The transportation of migrants began in 2022, as Texas Governor Gregg Abbott began paying for their transportation from the southern border to Illinois, primarily Chicago. Critics says it’s cruel and inhumane.

Board member Democrat Casey Anthony voted against the resolution. She said it does little to understand the reality experienced in the county. Several nonprofits, including churches support a number of migrants who already reside to establish themselves.

She says some in business community also play a role in that effort.

“There are numerous businesses in our area," Anthony said, "that the people coming are their workforce."

The text includes a commitment to prioritize funding for — quote — “legal residents” and calls for the repeal of the Illinois Trust Act.

The Act was passed under then Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican.

The law prohibits local law enforcement from arresting or detaining a person due to immigration status, unless a warrant has been issued by a judge. The Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department has been sued previously for violation of the Act.

A Chicago native, Maria earned a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield . Maria is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America. RFA is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. It is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit journalism organization. Un residente nativo de Chicago, Maria se graduó de University of Illinois Springfield con una licenciatura superior en periodismo de gobierno.