Illinois TRUST Act: No Detention By Local Police

gavel with America flag, immigrationThe Illinois TRUST Act prohibits local law enforcement officers from stopping, arresting or detaining undocumented immigrants for immigration authorities solely on the basis of their immigration statuses. Because the new law does not prevent immigrants from being taken into custody for criminal warrants, undocumented Chicagoans should still seek to obtain lawful status. The best immigration lawyers may help people gain legal status so that they can avoid deportation if they are arrested.

What the Law Does and Does not Do

Governor Rauner signed the act into law on Aug. 28, 2017. The Illinois Trust Act is designed to facilitate a trusting relationship between immigrants and law enforcement agencies. Police may not stop, arrest or detain people based on their undocumented statuses. In the current political environment, there have been concerns that some members of the immigrant community might be fearful of reporting crimes to police officers because of the potential for deportation. The law is meant to allay these fears so that immigrants can feel comfortable with talking to the police regardless of their immigration statuses.

The law does not prevent law enforcement agencies from talking to immigration authorities. Police are also allowed to take people into custody if they are presented with criminal warrants for their arrests.

Opposing Views

Some people argue that the new law turns the state of Illinois into a sanctuary state. Jurisdictions that do not hold undocumented immigrants for immigration authorities after they have been arrested for unrelated offenses are called sanctuary cities or states. President Trump has made a number of cities, including Chicago, the focus of his administration’s push to end sanctuary cities. The government has plans to try to cut off certain types of grant funding to sanctuary cities, which prompted Chicago to sue the administration in August.

Proponents of the law state that immigrants will feel more comfortable with reporting crimes to law enforcement officers and assisting with investigations without the threat of deportation. They also argue that the law lets police officers focus on their jobs instead of merely serving as local arms of the federal immigration authorities. For undocumented immigrants who still want to seek lawful status, the best immigration lawyers may help to identify different types of immigration visas for which they might be eligible.