(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pledging to bring about more changes to help residents without documentation in the state, while others warn the state’s policies are already putting taxpayers on the hook.
Pritzker on Thursday rallied in Chicago with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. He said in his first year in office he approved more policies changing immigration in Illinois than “any governor in memory.”
“And I remain committed to build upon our efforts so that immigrants and refugees in Illinois has equal participation in all parts of our diverse state,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker said more needs to be done.
“We need additional legislation to ensure that all communities feel safe without the fear of being separated from loved ones,” Pritzker said.
He pledged to sign Senate Bill 667, which is on his desk, to further restrict local and state law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials.
ICIRR said in a policy statement about the bill it “would end [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] 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,” the group said.
Downstate Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, said she saw the influx of illegal border crossings when she visited several weeks ago.
“People in Illinois need to be very alarmed,” Miller said. “I am calling this an invasion. What I saw is a national security issue and a humanitarian crisis.”
Illinois’ laws she said favor illegal immigration by being a sanctuary state.
“The criminals will want to make their way up to Illinois because they’ll be favored if they commit crimes,” Miller said. “They can get driver’s licenses and belly up to taxpayers paying for everything.”
Illinois already has policies in place that allow some Medicaid coverage for people regardless of their immigration status and for temporary driver licenses to be granted.