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Pritzker Says New Laws Make Illinois 'Firewall' Against Trump On Immigration

Chao, Pritzker, DeSantis, Trump
still image from video
Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker and others meet with President Donald Trump in the White House in this file photo from December 2018.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a series of laws meant to protect immigrants in Illinois. The Democrat says it’s a direct response to the rhetoric and actions of President Donald Trump.

Pritzker signed three bills. One prohibits state and local police from working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to remove people who are undocumented.

Another bans private immigrant detention centers from being built in Illinois — officials in the town of Dwight were moving to allow such a facility earlier this year.

“We will not allow private entities to profit off of the intolerance of this president,” Pritzker said Friday.

He signed the laws at a ceremony in Chicago, surrounded by allies from the General Assembly and immigrant-rights community. That included Lawrence Benito, head of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, who says the laws are significant.

“We make this progress in Illinois while our own federal government continues to attack and terrify our communities: putting children in cages; separating families; (and) raiding our neighborhoods, our homes, and our workplaces,” Benito said.

The third piece of legislation, will allow undocumented and transgender college students to apply for state financial aid. (Federal financial aid still requires proof of citizenship and, for people whose gender at birth was male, registration for the draft.)

Citing the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the governor’s office says that could open up Illinois college grants to an additional 3,500 people.

The legislation is House Bill 1637 (barring ICE cooperation), House Bill 2040 (banning private detention centers), and House Bill 2691 (financial aid, known as the RISE Act).

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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